Reunion Roadmap 9/19/2020 – with Special Guest Bryan Sanchez

It may take years for a person to get to the place where they are ready for our Father to reveal something that has been hidden in plain sight. Once they get it, though, there is no stopping them! The excitement at finally understanding leads to vision and motivation to make a difference for others in accordance with the Father’s desires. 

That is what happened with Bryan Sanchez when his friend Solomon Lopez helped him understand his identity as part of the commonwealth of Israel. Having already served faithfully with Christians United for Israel (CUFI) to bring the divided halves of God’s covenant people together, Bryan eagerly embraced this new understanding as it helped him answer longstanding question about the relationship of Christians and Jews. How that happened and what he is doing with his new understanding is the subject in this concluding segment of our conversation with him.

In this show we also have the second part of “Salvation and Righteousness,” a conversation between Elders Frank Houtz and Barry Phillips about the meaning of familiar words that we might not really understand. All of this is accompanied by the uplifting musical talents of Eved Adonai and Melody Joy Cloud

Click here to listen to the podcast:

Reunion Roadmap 9/19/2020 – B’ney Yosef North America

The Jubilee Generation! by Angus Wootten

[Editor’s note: Ever since Yeshua ascended to the Father, Christians have kept their eyes on the sky looking for His return and the completion of His Messianic mission. What has seldom come into Christian consciousness, however, is that Jews have looked for completion of that same Messianic mission for far longer than the 2,000 years since Yeshua walked the earth. It seems that the Jewish focus is not solely on heaven – the involvement of which is necessary for Messiah to do all that is prophesied – but here on earth. They know better than Christians have known that the messianic promises revolve around the final redemption and restoration of Israel.
Angus Wootten grasped both the Christian and the Jewish perspectives on this matter. He saw them not as mutually exclusive eschatological approaches, but as complementary. The key to reconciling them, as he intimates in this 1998 article, is in the revelation that there is a very large non-Jewish portion of Israel which has been hidden from view for nearly three millennia in accordance with the pronounced judgment of the Almighty on the rebellion of His ancient covenant nation. That hidden part of Israel is coming into view even now, as Angus explains.]


The Jubilee Generation!

By Angus Wootten – November 1998

The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Adonai [Lord], and of his Mashiach [Anointed One]; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15).

How does the Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, plan to accomplish this age – ending event? How will He realize His Messianic Vision, which is to manifest His presence – in His earthly Kingdom – in the midst of a united people.

To reach this goal, obviously one of His larger challenges is, “uniting His people, Israel.” The above is taken from the Herald article, “The Messianic Vision.”[1] While this article gives a good answer to the “how” question, it does not give the fullest answer to the “when” question.

Undoubtedly, our generation is closer to the return of Messiah, and to the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth, than any previous generation! But how close is that? And what is so special about this generation that We should believe that we are “the generation”?

The generation that experiences this age-ending event will realize fulfillment of Yeshua’s mission:

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. . .” And. . ., “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 18-21)

According to the rabbinical custom of Yeshua’s day, reference to this verse in Isaiah would have been thought to include the entire passage.

Continuing, we see that Yeshua was declaring that He been sent,

To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn . . . giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations, and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vine dressers. But you will be called the priests of the Lord; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. . . . (Isaiah 61:2-9)

Yeshua said in the synagogue in Nazareth, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Yet, today, some two thousand years later, from our finite viewpoint, Yeshua’s declaration has not yet been fully fulfilled.

Truly Yahveh’s ways are not our ways, especially when it comes to “time.”

So, how did Yeshua fulfill these Scriptures?

He set in motion a plan, which, in the fullness of time will see every jot and tittle of these verses accomplished.

Further, every generation since has played an integral part of this fulfillment. However, even though prior generations have gained approval by passing the torch of faith to the next generation, they did not receive what was promised. Because, it yet remains for a generation to carry the torch across the finish line, at which time all things will be perfected (Hebrews 11:39-40).

Could we be that final generation? Could we be the “finish line generation,” the generation that will see captives being set free, the blind regaining their sight, the lame being healed, and having their land returned? Will we experience the fulness of the “favorable year of the Lord”?

If so, truly we will experience the ultimate “Jubilee!”

The Concept of Jubilee

At the core of the idea of “jubilee” is the Mosaic doctrine, that all things, all creatures in the world do not belong to men at all, but to Yahveh alone.

The biblical law of redemption makes “jubilee” possible. This jubilee law deals with the fact that the land should not be sold in perpetuity, for it belonged to Yahveh, and those in bondage should, and could be, redeemed. The redemption of land and of those in bondage could be accomplished at any time by a kinsman redeemer. Otherwise, in the year of Jubilee the land would revert back to the owner, and those in bondage would be freed (Leviticus 25:23-55).

Biblically, the year of Jubilee is celebrated in the fiftieth year. In this year, agricultural lands sold during the past 49 years are returned to their original owners, and any Israelite that is in bondage is set free.

Seventeen Jubilees were celebrated from the time Joshua took the land until the destruction of the First Temple. Then upon Judah’s return from Babylon, the count began again, and it stopped with the destruction of the Second Temple.

Though in this present year [1998] the state of Israel is celebrating a jubilee of its founding, still, it is not a Biblical jubilee. Perhaps the reason Jewish religious leaders have not yet called for a Biblical jubilee is because, according to the Talmud, the Jubilee Year laws are in force only when all the tribes are living in “Eretz Israel” (TB Ar. 32b).

Again, we ask, could we be that jubilee generation?

The answer is, “Yes!”

Why?

Because the first jubilee generation saw the first advent of Israel’s Messiah. Therefore, would not the second jubilee generation be an appropriate time for His return? Would not a jubilee generation be the time to make the kingdoms of this World the Kingdom of our Messiah? Surely that would be fulfilling the very essence of Yahveh’s jubilee principals – by asserting His ownership of all the earth, and its population, and for all creation to acknowledge His Lordship. At that time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He and He alone is Lord!

How do we know that Yeshua came in the first jubilee generation? Further, how do we know that we are the second jubilee generation?

Defining A Generation

To begin, a generation is the period from a man’s birth to the birth of his son. It also can refer collectively to the people who lived in a like period.

Scripturally, the average length of a generation is most often assumed to be forty years. For, in the wilderness all the men over twenty died within a forty-year time frame. The forty year span of the rule of David and Solomon, and of four of the judges, adds support for a forty year generation. However, we also find Scriptural support for a hundred year generation: Yahveh told Abraham that his descendants would be in a foreign land four hundred years and then He would bring them out in the “fourth generation.”

Matthew’s genealogy further complicates the problem of determining the length of a generation. His genealogical list gives forty-two generations from Abraham to the birth of Yeshua (Matthew 1: 17). It gets complicated when we try to determine the time span of these forty-two generations. If we use hundred year generations, we have a 4200 year span. If we use forty years, we have a 1680 year span. However, neither of these time spans fits with known history. Further, the general agreement among biblical scholars is that Yeshua was born in 5 or 6 B.C., and that Abraham was born in the period of 2000 B.C. to 2200 B.C.

The answer that solves this dilemma and also fits with history is:

From the flood to the Exodus from Egypt, generations were 100 years long, afterwards, they were forty years long. This reasoning, when applied to Matthew’s genealogy, gives us eight one-hundred year generations: Abraham, Isaac. Jacob, Jacob’s twelve sons, and four generations in Egypt – and thirty-four forty-year generations. Using this rationale (34 x 40 = 1360 + 800 = 2160), and back-dating from 6 B.C., we arrive at 2166 B.C. as Abraham’s year of birth. This is the exact date given by the NIV Study Bible Old Testament Chronology for Abraham’s birth. Further, this perception of generations would place the flood some seven to eight hundred years earlier, and well within the time frame that is acceptable to the majority of scholars.

After Yahveh had virtually destroyed the ancient world with the flood, we find that His plan to have a people for His own possession is to be accomplished through the descendants of Noah’s son, Shem. This means Shem’s son Arphaxed represents the first generation of the post-flood world. And, from Arphaxed to Abraham, there are seven generations. Add these seven generations to the forty-two generations from Abraham to Yeshua, and we have forty-nine generations. Thus, Yeshua then came in the fiftieth generation. or first jubilee generation: 6 B.C. to 34 A.D.

This in turn means the first generation after Yeshua would have begun in 35 A.D., which year is also thought to be the year of Paul’s conversion.

Paul conversion is key to the almost 2000 year effort to renew the world spiritually, and to regather Yahveh’s people. This mission stands in contrast to the mission of Noah’s sons, which was to repopulate the world physically.

And, the next fiftieth generation from Yeshua, meaning the second jubilee generation, began in 1996 A.D.!

So. today, in 1998 A.D., we live in the second year of the fiftieth generation from Yeshua, and in the one hundredth generation from the flood!

Are there other events that would validate that this is the generation that will see the “favorable year of the Lord?”

The first act of the second Jubilee was the end of Israel’s (Ephraim’s) punishment. After twenty-seven-hundred and thirty years, Ephraim’s blindness to his heritage was being removed. He was being freed from the sentence of being a people who were “not a people” (Hosea 1:9, Ezekiel 4:5). Truly this was a favorable year for Ephraim!

To understand the punishment of Ephraim, and its length, we quote largely from the Herald article, “Ephraim, Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man!”[2]

Ephraim’s Punishment

The Prophets Hosea and Amos explained why and how Israel would be punished for their iniquity: “Israel is swallowed up; They are now among the nations. Like a vessel in which no one delights” (Hosea 8:8). And, “I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9).

Bala, the Hebrew word for swallow, which word Hosea uses in his description of Ephraim’s punishment, has the connotation of someone eating a piece of food, and having it become a part of their body. For example, today, try to find, or identify in your body, the food you ate last week. Even so, Ephraim was destined to be punished, by being swallowed up by the Gentile nations, and so to become an indistinguishable part of them. This punishment has been in effect until this generation, and during this time of blindness, Ephraim has not known who he is!

From Ezekiel we gain an understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment. For Yahveh told Ezekiel to, “Lay on your left side and put the sin of the House of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side for I have assigned to you a number of days corresponding to the number of years of iniquity [of Israel] . .  390 days. Thus you shall bear the iniquity of the House of Israel”

We know Yahveh spoke of Ephraim/Israel because He also said, “After you have finished this, lie down again on your right side and bear the sin of the House of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year” (Ezekiel 4:4-6).

To understand this punishment we need to see that Ezekiel lived 135 years after the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) had become “no more.” Yet, Yahveh had not forgotten about them, because through Ezekiel, He explains the length of their punishment for their iniquity.

The people of the northern ten tribes would not repent of their paganism. Further, Yahveh was adamant that He is a jealous God, and that Israel was to have “no other gods” before Him. Yet, He also was, “a compassionate God; who would not fail them nor destroy them nor forget the covenant which He had sworn to their fathers” (Deuteronomy 4:31; 5:9).

Like father like son, Ephraim still has the problem of allowing pagan, or Gentile ways, to creep into his relationship with his God. 

Judah’s Punishment

We gain understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment by first looking at Judah’s punishment:

Ezekiel was instructed to lie on his right side for 40 days, a day for a year. Thus, we see that Judah was to receive 40 years of punishment.

But unfortunately, this forty years is only part of Judah’s punishment. Because, in the account of the two sisters, Aholah (Samaria) and Aholibah (Jerusalem/Judah), we see that they engaged in prostitution when they were young and still in Egypt. Additionally, Aholah/Ephraim was engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians. It was this harlotry with their Assyrian neighbors that led to Aholah’s downfall.

During the century preceding the final destruction of the city of Samaria, the Northern Kingdom was integrated into the Assyrian Empire. Piece by piece various portions of the Northern Tribes became vassals of Assyria, until they were entirely absorbed into the Assyrian Empire. When the City of Samaria fell in 722 B.C., it was just the last little bastion of the Northern Kingdom.[3] It did not take a war for most of Israel to become Assyrian. This fact is confirmed by Yahveh’s statement: “I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she had lusted.” (Ezekiel 23:9)

Since the Ephraimites had lusted for Gentile ways, Yahveh gave them over to the Assyrians, that they might ultimately be scattered among the Nations, and thus to become “Gentiles.”

Recalling the demise of Aholah, Yahveh said to Aholibah, “You saw your sister in her lust and prostitution, yet you have been more depraved than your sister.” You have gone the way of your sister, so I will put her cup in your hands. You will drink your sister’s cup, a cup large and deep and it will bring scorn and derision for it holds so much.”

Judah’s sister’s cup contained 390 years of punishment! Thus, adding 390 years of punishment to the 40 years which Judah initially received. And that gives a total of 430 years of punishment for Judah.

When did Judah’s punishment start?

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, subdued Judah in 595 B.C.. After this date, they no longer had political or religious control over their own territory, Jerusalem, nor over their temple.

Thus, if we take 596 B.C. as the first year of their punishment, and if we move forward 430 years we come to 166 B.C.

What happened in 166 B.C.?

The Maccabees revolted against the Greeks.

In coming to 166 B.C., we come to the time of the Maccabees victory over the Greeks, and to the miracle cleansing of the temple – the time when they found only enough oil in the temple to last for one day. But miraculously this one day supply of oil lasted for eight days, giving them time to make a fresh supply of oil. This miracle is celebrated as the Feast of Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication). Judah‘s punishment was over, and they had regained religious and political control over their temple and a large portion of their territory.[4]

The Length Of Ephraim’s Punishment?

Pencil drawing on greenish paper (brown wash) of king Tiglath-pileser III enthroned, by Charles Doswell Hodder. From a bound set of original drawings made at the time of the nineteenth-century discoveries in Assyria. Many of these drawings were used by Layard in his publications of the 1840s and 1850s. British Museum, London, item 2007,6024.10.

Now let us go back to Ephraim. He was assigned 390 years of punishment. Correct?

No. For unfortunately, Ephraim would receive far more than 390 years. We understand this through Yahveh’s fourfold declaration given in the Twenty Sixth Chapter of Leviticus. This declaration establishes unrepentant Ephraim’s fate:

If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. . . If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. . . Then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins. . . Then I will act with wrathful hostility against you; and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins” (Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28).

When Yahveh declares a punishment, you are going to get it. Regardless. If you sow, you are going to reap. According to Yahveh’s rules you are going to get the punishment – even if you repent. Further, if you don’t repent, you will receive a seven-fold punishment!

Judah received a punishment of 430 years. And, when Judah went to Babylon (that being their punishment), they repented. To this day, the Jewish people (as a whole) do not have idols. And since they repented of their idolatries, their punishment lasted only 430 years.

But, hapless Ephraim never repented. So, the Northern Kingdom received a seven-fold punishment: 390 years times seven, for a total of 2,730 years of punishment.

Exactly what was Ephraim’s punishment?

Yahveh said the Ephraimites would be scattered among the nations, and that they would “lose their identity.” They would become, “Lo Ammi,” meaning “Not A People” (Hosea 1:9-10; 2:2,23).

So poor misguided Ephraim received a sentence of 2730 years – the punishment being he would not be recognizable people – he would lose his identity.

When Did Ephraim’s Punishment Start?

In determining the date of Judah’s punishment, we did not pick the year 585 B.C., which was when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon’s temple. Rather, we started from the year, 595 B.C. when Judah no longer had political and religious control over their territories. Therefore, we will apply this same measure to Ephraim. And, while the city of Samaria was finally destroyed in 722 B.C., the majority of the Northern Kingdom had become a vassal state of Assyria by 734 B.C.

Confirmation of these facts is substantiated by the Cuneiform Text of Tiglath-Pileser III, which chronicle his Gaza-Damascus Campaign in 734-33 B.C.

When the armed hordes of Assyrians completed their campaign against Bet-Omri (Israel), Israel was mortally wounded, decimated by deportation, beaten back into a tiny corner of the Northern Kingdom. With the exception of Samaria, all its cities had been annexed, and the country had been divided into provinces over which Assyrian governors and officials exercised strict control.

All that was left of Israel was a dwarf state, a tiny pinpoint on the map: the mountain of Ephraim with the royal city of Samaria.[5]

When Will Ephraim’s Punishment End?

When will Ephraim’s punishment be ended?

If we count 2730 years from 734 B.C., we arrive at the year 1996. If we use the year 722 B.C. as a base, we come up with the year 2008.

Please note: This is not to say that Yeshua will return and reestablish His Kingdom in this twelve year time frame! Unlike the now infamous book, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return In 1988, we are not giving 96 Reasons Why Yeshua Will Return In 1996, nor or we giving 208 Reasons Why Yeshua Will Return In 2008. Rather, we are saying that, at the end of Ephraim’s punishment, Yeshua is free to restore the corporate Kingdom to Israel – and thus to truly celebrate the final jubilee!

Why is it important that we understand Ephraim’s punishment?

Because Ephraim’s punishment is now at an end!

We need to see that Ephraim would not be rewarded with the restoration of the Kingdom to the people of Israel while he is still undergoing the punishment of not being recognizable people! For, they could not be recognized as the people of Israel! And the Church has not seen itself as a co-heir with the Jewish people to the physical promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Granted, many have taught that they have replaced Jewish Israel, or that they are spiritual Israel. But, Believers have not seen themselves as part of the corporate (physical) people of the commonwealth of Israel – especially they have not seen themselves as a people who need to be reunited with their brother Judah.

When Yeshua returns, His people will be freed! Yet, He had to adhere to His own Word. Therefore, He could not return until the punishment He mandated for those of Ephraim was completed.

Admittedly, we cannot be absolutely sure as to the exact beginning, nor the exact end, of Yahveh‘s decreed punishment. However, we do know this: there is a moment in time when it began, and there will be a moment in time when it ends. We also know that Ephraim’s punishment could not have started any later than 722 B.C. And, that it was only in the last quarter of this century that Messianic non-Jewish Believers began to see that there were two houses of Israel, as described in Scripture (Ephraim and Judah). Further, it is evident that these two houses have not as yet been reunited as one undefiled house. The people of Israel have not yet taken full possession of the land given to their father Abraham. And, the Greater Son of David is not ruling over them.

So it is that we are beginning to see, that, as Ephraimites, we are full-fledged members of the commonwealth of Israel. We are part of the people to whom the Holy One of Israel said He would restore His Kingdom! (Isaiah 8: 14; Ezekiel 37:22-25)

We know that the punishment of Ephraim began no later than 722 B.C., and we know from history that his punishment has been in full force until recent years. What we do not know for sure, is, when Yahveh will deem that it is fully completed. But we do know that Yeshua said: “The generation that sees the fig tree blossom will see His return.” (Matthew 24:32-34)

Surely the fig tree cannot blossom until all the tribes of Israel know their Messiah and realize their heritage, and are living in the land! So Ephraim must now be instructed as to his heritage, and Judah to the identity of their Messiah. Then the two houses will become one reunited house of Israel.

How will Yahveh accomplish this monumental task? Scripture records that it has been His practice to accomplish His purposes on earth through men and women. And, why would we expect He who does not change to change?

If in truth we are the generation that will cross the finish line, then the task of instruction is ours! And, as forerunners who know our Messiah and our heritage, it is our job to lead the way! And, at most, we have thirty- eight years left to do the job.

But, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can do it! Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The building of the largest structure on earth – the Great Wall of China – began with the placing of one stone. So let us step out and begin instructing the living stones which Yahveh will use to build His House, the united house of Israel (1Peter 2:5).

So, with joy, run your leg of the race!


[1] See Angus Wootten, “The Messianic Vision,” House of David Herald 8-1, January 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/2643-2/.

[2] See Angus Wootten, “Ephraim Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man!,” House of David Herald 8-4, April 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/ephraim-free-at-last-one-again-a-mighty-man/.

[3] See Angus and Batya Wootten, “The Way Of The Gentiles,” House of David Herald 5-12, December 1993.

[4] See Angus Wootten, “The Price Of Peace,” and Batya Wootten, “Celebrating Hanukkah,” House of David Herald 7-11, November 1995, and 7-12, December 1995.

[5] See The Bible As History, by Werner Keller 1955, pages 245-249, translated from the German, published by William Morrow and Company, New York, in 1956.

Christians Finding Meaning in Jewish Festivals: Round Table Conversation – Israel365 News

Rabbi Tuly Weisz of Israel365 discusses ways that Christian Zionists are finding ways to participate and celebrate the Jewish festivals mentioned in the Bible (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot) with Pastors Laura Densmore, Steve Wearp, Al McCarn and Denise Roe.

Fishers of Men! How Many Fish Must We Catch? by Angus Wootten

[Editor’s note: James the Apostle provides us with a simple test to determine whether we really believe God’s promises –
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18 NASB)
That is the point Angus Wootten emphasizes in this brief article first published in September 1998. Either we believe what God’s promises to restore all of Israel – the Jewish and the non-Jewish portions – or we don’t. If we do, and if we take seriously the scriptural assertions that Messiah Yeshua’s disciples are adopted into Abraham’s family, not to replace the Jewish people, but to join with them so “all Israel will be saved” (Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 2:8-21; Romans 11:25-26), then this will become our motivation in seeking God and His will for our lives.
So is it true? You be the judge. In 1897, only dreamers like Theodor Herzl believed Israel would be reborn as an independent nation, yet it happened 50 years later. When Angus wrote this article, no one would have believed that Arab nations would drop their demands for a Palestinian state before normalizing relations with Israel, and yet the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have done just that. What new realities are before us? Those who believe the promises of God should be the ones who make those realities come to pass.]


Fishers of Men! How Many Fish Must We Catch?

By Angus Wootten – September 1998

Walking by the Sea of Galilee, Yeshua saw two brothers. Simon who was called Peter. and Andrew, his brother. casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them. “Follow Me. and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18)

We who follow Yeshua. like Peter and Andrew, also must be fishers of men! We must gather the number of “fishes” needed to fill the “fullness” Paul establishes for the salvation of all Israel (Romans 11:25-26)!

How big is that job?

It’s really big! In this century alone we have seen the great effort required to return some five million Jews to their own soil – Jews who for two thousand years were, at best, second class citizens in the lands in which they were scattered. And now, having returned to their land. they are first class citizens of one of the most powerful nations on the planet.

So we ask, what would happen if thirteen million more Jews, and, one hundred and thirty million non-Jewish Israelites (Ephraimites), also were returned to their own soil? How big would that job be? Moreover, is one hundred and thirty million a realistic number for the Ephraimites?

John M. Stembridge. former Mayor of North Miami and current President of Aliyah and United Zionists International, in a recent letter to the Miami Herald, commented on a front page article by Martin Merzer. In it, Merzer said Zionism’s new mission is to unite the world’s Jews. But, Stembridge replied that Merzer did not go far enough, and that Zionism’s new mission is to educate and unite all Zionists: Jew and “Gentile” alike. Also, Stembridge defines a Zionist as anyone who believes God gave the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their descendants, as an inheritance forever.

Interestingly, this man also says the world Jewish population outside Israel is thirteen million, with nine million being in the United States. And. as for “Gentile” Zionists [his name for Ephraimites], Stembridge gives a figure of one hundred thirty million, with forty million being in the United States.

He further believes the problem with Zionism today is, ignorance to the nearly 1000 Biblical prophecies in which God calls all these Zionists back from the nations – and to their promised land of Israel. Stembridge says, without this knowledge, it is impossible for secular leaders, whether political, industrial, labor, management, media, religious, etc., to understand the intricacies involved in healing the breach in Abraham’s family.

Stembridge writes:

From now forward, world Peace and Economic stability is dependent upon Israel’s Peace and regathering. Israel will never be at peace until its neighbors can accept the regathering of the world’s Jewish and Gentiles Zionists as brothers rather than as enemies that they want to drive into the sea or whose blood they want to spill on its Holy soil. Therefore it behooves every government, industry, religious. and cultural leader, locally and worldwide, to become actively involved in establishing Justice with Peace in the Middle East and around the world. Failure in this mission will bring nothing less than a Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Holocaust as never experienced in human history. Mankind that survives this Holocaust will, at best, start from the dark ages once again.

John Stembridge surely has a vision. And, he closes his letter by asking that God grant us the knowledge, wisdom, and empowerment to succeed.

Likewise, each of us should have a God-given vision, one filled with the knowledge, wisdom and empowerment required to succeed. Further, a key ingredient to our success must be action. For, action is required to accomplish one’s vision!

A Vision of the regathering of Israel without action is but a dream. Yet, action without a vision can be a task of drudgery and futility. But, a vision coupled with action can result in the regathering of all Israel.

What is our task?

To insure that each of those thirteen million Jews and one hundred and thirty million “Gentile” Zionists (or whatever the true number) realize who they are. For, to get the job done, they need not only to love the God of Israel, the land of Israel, and the Jewish people, but they need to understand that they too are Israel. They also need to return to their own soil to complete fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy about the regathering of all Israel. For Yahveh has sworn:

Fishermen on the Bank of the Amstel near the Pauwentuin, Amsterdam, Arent Arentsz, c1625-1630, Rijksmueum, Amsterdam.

I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply . . . they will no longer say, “As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.” Then they will live on their own soil. (Jeremiah 23: 1-8)

In that great day of regathering, Ezekiel’s two sticks will have been made one in the Father’s hand (Ezekiel 37:15-28). Predictions that Ephraim will once again “be a mighty man,” that he will “return to the lands promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in such numbers that there is no more room for him” will all be but history (Zechariah 10:10.17).

Fishermen arise! Prepare your nets! For a great and glorious fishing expedition lies before us!

Our Hope of Glory and the Mystery of the Gentiles, by Angus Wootten

[Editor’s note: Did you know that there are people in Israel right now who know that they are living out the fulfillment of prophecy? The world calls them Jewish settlers in the “occupied territories of the West Bank. They do not see things in the same way. What they see is that the so-called West Bank of the Jordan River is the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, and that the God of Israel has made promises to restore His people to those lands. Promises like this one:

“From afar Adonai appeared to me.” “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Again I will build you, so you will be rebuilt, virgin Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines as ornaments, and go out to dances of merrymakers. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria—planters will plant and use them. For there will be a day when watchmen will call out in the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Arise, let us go up to Zion, to Adonai our God.’” (Jeremiah 31:2-5 TLV)

That is why Jews have answered the Lord’s call to move into Judea and Samaria to rebuild the ancient towns and bring the land back to life. What they have done is astounding, as you will see when you go there. What you should remember when you see it is that these Jewish pioneers have walked out their faith by taking God at His word and partnering with Him in fulfilling prophecy..[1]

This is the same challenge to our faith that Angus Wootten issued in this article, first published in October 1997. In essence the question is, if we believe what the Bible says about the restoration of all Israel, and of the identity of Yeshua’s followers as part of that restored covenant nation, what do we do to walk out that belief? Our answer may determine how soon the world sees this Divine Promise come to pass.]


Our Hope of Glory and the Mystery of the Gentiles

By Angus Wootten – October 1997

The Declaration of Independence of the United States, made in 1776, gives us the hope of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All of which we receive by being a citizen of the United States.

Comparatively, Yahveh our God gives us the Hope of Glory: the hope of eternal life, liberty, and happiness – a promise made before the foundation of the world. And we receive these hopes by being a citizen of His Commonwealth of Israel.

What is hope?

It is a feeling, a desire that what is wanted or expected, will happen. And we all want life, liberty, and happiness. The question is: How do we realize those hopes, both in this world and in the world to come?

For our answer we look to the Apostle Paul’s response to life’s most important question:

Brethren, it is by understanding the mystery of the Gentiles, which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, and which has now being manifested to His saints, that you will understand that it is Yeshua in you, that is your hope of glory. . . However, to realize the hope that Yeshua has given you, you must be a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel and a partaker of the covenants of promise. (Colossians 1:25-28; Ephesians 2:12, Author’s Personal Paraphrase)

Salvation: Being born again, accepting Christ, being saved, call it what you may. It is this crucial message of personal salvation that the Church has heralded to the remotest comers of the earth for two millennia. Undeniably, it is the greatest, and most important message anyone could ever hear because – it gives one the hope of glory!

The Church started with the right message: personal salvation. However, they did not go far enough. Thus they lost sight of the solution to the mystery of the Gentiles, and consequently lost sight of their own ultimate mission: that of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.

Make no mistake, it is the resolution of this mystery that will equip the elect to understand, and thus to complete the mission that will ultimately tum our hope into glory!

The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, emphasizes a requirement for both individual and national relationships. For Paul says, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Yeshua, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12)

Paul gives three reasons why the Ephesians previously had been without hope, and without God in the world:

    1. They were separated from Yeshua: They were not saved. However, while we all can agree that not having obtained individual salvation is any individual’s greatest problem, it was, according to Paul, not their only problem.
    2. They were excluded, or alienated, from the commonwealth of Israel. In other words, in addition to not having individual salvation they did not have national salvation. They were not part of a people set apart for the Holy One of Israel.
    3. They were strangers to the covenants of promise. Paul speaks of the covenants that will one day culminate in the fulfillment of the Messianic Promise – which is the hope of glory, that the fulness of our eternal inheritance will be consummated at Yeshua’s promised coming.

Before we make a more detailed examination of Paul’s three points, we first need to go back in history to determine why the Ephesians had been without hope and without God in this world. For, we need to know the root cause of a problem if we are to solve it. Further, if we will not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them. And history reveals that we have not learned. For generation after generation, and even in our generation, the majority of the people in the world have continued to be without hope and without God.

Why do the problems of hopelessness and Godlessness continue to plague the world? Prior generations of Believers have run their lap of the race with limited success, while in effect passing on this problem to the next set of runners. Now, we have been given the baton, and it is our tum to run. The question is, will we pass the baton in the same way as did our forefathers? Or, do we have a unique opportunity to actually finish the race?

Could we be the forerunners that cross the finish line? The signs of the times say yes – the signs being fulfilled Biblical prophecy in this century (Matthew 16:3).

Yes, we are being given the extraordinary opportunity to serve as vessels of mercy – vessels the Holy Spirit can use to help gather the lost sheep of Israel to the Shepherd of Israel – thus giving them the hope of glory (Romans 9:23). And in this way, these found sheep will no longer be excluded, or alienated, from the commonwealth of Israel. Rather than being strangers to the covenants of promises, they will partake of the eternal pledges of assurance, which will give them the everlasting glory – Which is the realization of their hope.

How Can We Meet This Challenge?

If ours is the last leg of the race, what are we to do? To best answer this question, we first need to answer two basic questions: Who are we? And why are we here?

Who Are We?

The Scream, painted in 1893 by Edvard Munch, is a depiction of the anxiety of the human condition – an anxiety linked to humankind’s search for identity, for purpose, and for meaning in life. (National Museum of Norway, Oslo.)

Hopefully our answer to this question will not be like that of the pessimistic philosopher Schopenhauer, who, sitting all disheveled on a park bench, when asked who he was, said to the attendant, “I wish to God I knew.”

This answer, along with one that is an even more pitiful cry, haunts all humanity. The other is a cry that is uttered by all who have lost their way, and it is, “I wish I knew God.”

Why would any man question who he is? And why do they question who is God?

Why? Because the modern world with all its advancements in science, technology, and philosophy, seems in many ways to have done away with a need for both God and man. Newton dismissed God by his theory of a mechanical universe. Darwin, by his view of evolution, dismisses man. Freud dismissed a reasoning mind by his insistence that man was but an animal, motivated not by reason but by hidden unconscious animal drives and instincts.

In the past century, we have quarreled, not over whether man is an animal, but as to what type of animal. Is he motivated by his collective ancestral impulses and manners (Darwin), by economic necessity and his stomach (Marx), or by his libido (Freud)?

Modern man, being told on one hand that he is but an animal, and on the other hand that he is a god, does not have a satisfying answer to the questions of what, where, and why. By his own confession, he is lost in a meaningless and hopeless moment between two eternities. He is lost and hopeless because the enlightenment from these great advancements in science, technology, and philosophy has led him to see his origins as being the chance multiplication of amoebas. His destiny is but to return to cosmic dust.

Those who reject the modern meaninglessness of a life without hope have turned, as man has done throughout history, to an ideology: a system of beliefs that provide the social needs and aspirations for an individual, a group, a culture, a people. And, the key to every ideology depends upon its genesis (beginning or origin). In other words, every system of thought that attempts to explain the origins and destiny of man is dependent upon an original conviction regarding the nature of man. And, whether or not the system has any hope of being correct, first and foremost, depends on whether the original assumption is correct. Therefore, the continued failure of modern ideologies, and of many ideologies of the past, can undoubtedly be attributed to wrong assumptions as to man’s genesis.

The Judeo-Christian ideology of man’s genesis has him being created in the image of the One God of Israel, and, he is created with the hope of eternal life.

Yet, the proliferation of theology, doctrines, denominations and cults to which these ideologies have given birth all serve to bear witness to the confusion that still exists regarding who we are, and where we are going!

The Truth Is . . .

We have all questioned the theologies and doctrines with which we were nurtured. Further, on a daily basis, we make decisions based on our current ideology. And these decisions have eternal consequences. So, we need to cut through the mass of divergent denominational and cultic theology and doctrines that represent “Christian” thought today, and we need to get to the truth. Especially, we need to get to the truth of who we are!

What is Truth?

Truth is Yahveh’s reality behind our perception.

Further, the truth may frequently seem unreasonable; it may at times be depressing; sometimes it may appear to be wrong; but it has an eternal advantage: it is Yahveh’s reality. And, what is built on His truth neither brings, nor yields to, confusion.

As stated in a previous House of David Herald article,[2] “We must be concerned about the consequences of being deceived by errors and misconceptions, for lies bring captivity and death, while truth brings freedom and life (John 8:21,32,44; 2 Timothy 2:26). Thus, with such high stakes riding on what we believe, we must ask ourselves: Is what we believe true? Is the foundation on which we are building our understanding of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going, one of truthfulness?”

This edition of the Herald also pointed out that the post-16th-century philosophers who were responsible for the development of modern secular thought devised new kinds of wisdom. And then, with their innovations began to build on faulty structures. Thus they made a disastrous mistake. For, they did not tear down their faulty structures to the point of a solid foundation; they did not go all the way down to ancient and original truths!

Even so, Christian theologians of the reformation, in their attempts to correct errors made by the early Roman Church, suffered from the same disastrous mistake: Instead of retracing the faulty steps all the way back to a solid foundation of original truth, modern theologians have tried in other ways to circumvent the result of the initial errors. And thus, they often compound their difficulties rather than overcome them.

It is because they have not dug down far enough that the church[3] has yet to recover from many of its early doctrinal divisions and theological mistakes. Especially crippling are the mistakes made over the identity of Israel. For they blind us to a full understanding of Yahveh’s plan for the whole house of Israel, of which “whole” we are a part.

The truth is, initially, all of Messiah’s followers were physical Israelites who belonged to a sect of Judaism (Acts 28:32). Undoubtedly, these Israelites had children. But somehow, somewhere along the way, the Church ceased to consider their physical descendants as physical Israelites. Then, she further distanced herself from unbelieving Judah when she began to admit “Gentiles,” who in turn were not seen as being physical Israelites (Acts 21:28-30). Ultimately, the ties between the two were completely broken, and the followers of Yeshua became a “Gentile Church.” And now, we forerunners, those who have been commissioned to pick up the pieces and to put Israel back together again, we are faced with an age-old question: “Who is Israel?”[4]

Am I An Israelite?

An even more pressing question that each of us should answer is: “Am I an Israelite?”

These questions, Who is Israel? Who is an Israelite?, have been asked for thousands of years without a definitive answer. Since the exodus of a mixed multitude from Egypt, Israel has harbored the simultaneous convictions that: first, Israel was an entirely unique and separate community – a peculiar people – being descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and secondly, Israel is a people, linked by faith in a common ideology. And, both of these convictions have one commonality, they both require that Israel had to be set apart from the world, and yet, they were to remain in the world, both at one and the same time.

Like our forefathers, we continue to be faced with the apparent hopeless dilemma of two contradictory opposites. The solution, which the Church, Judaism, and Messianic Judaism, have bought, and which they in turn attempt to sell, is to see these two convictions as the coexistence of two complementary, incompatible viewpoints – which can be successfully harmonized and united.

And, if this solution does not leave you confused, then you don’t understand the situation.

Admittedly, we do not have all the answers today. “However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries,” and He promised to reveal them in the latter days (Daniel 2:28). Even so, the Father has begun to remove the blindness to the mystery concerning the identity of Israel – as well as the mystery surrounding the Gentiles. On a one by one basis, He is revealing to non-Jews that they are Israelites: descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And, it is a conviction, a knowing that we know, that is not unlike the conviction and knowing we each have concerning our personal salvation.

What About The Others?

What about those who have not been convicted of the truth regarding their salvation? Most will answer: “I know I am saved, and I pray that my witness will lead others to salvation.”

What about those who have yet to see the truth about our heritage?

Our answer should be: I know who I am, and I pray that my witness will bring others to a knowledge of their heritage.

What about those who do not see us as we see ourselves?

We need to know in our hearts that the Holy One of Israel sees us as a full-fledged member of His people Israel, even though the Church at large, and many of our brothers and sisters in Messianic Judaism, do not recognize us as such. Instead, in their eyes we are “adopted Gentiles” who in some mysterious way have become “Spiritual Israelites.” However, their misunderstanding should not dictate our image of ourselves, nor should it shake our faith in the fact that we are who Yahveh says we are! Remember, “If you belong to Yeshua, then you are Abraham’s offspring (sperm), heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).

Just as Yahveh saw Levi in the loins of his father Abraham, He also saw us in our father Abraham’s loins!! For when the God who foreknew us before the foundation of the world said to Abraham that his seed would be as the stars of heaven, the sand by the seashore, and the dust of the earth, He was not speaking of a future event, but rather of an event that had taken place before the foundation of the world! (Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 4:3, Genesis 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, 28:14, 32:12).

A People For His Own Possession

This world is not the result of chance. Rather, it was deliberately created by Yahveh for His good pleasure, which was, and is, to have a people for His own possession (Isaiah 46:10; Deuteronomy 4:20, 7:6, 14:2; Titus 2: 14;1 Peter 2:9). His desire was, and is, that these people, whom He would call, would of their own free will, choose Him to be their God, and they would choose to be His people!

But, there is a difference between choosing Yahveh to be our God, and choosing to be His people.

The Church has placed emphasis on their choosing of God, meaning on individual salvation, but they have put little or no emphasis on choosing to be His people, or on national salvation. For the most part, the Church has taken the attitude that all, even if they might be descendants of generations of Believers, everyone starts at ground zero in their relationship with Yahveh. No. It does not even occur to them that they may be descended from those who have been in the Olive Tree of Israel for generation upon generation.[5]

On the other hand, the Jewish people have placed their emphasis on national salvation – on being God’s chosen people. And, it is this attitude that flames the fires of jealousy in the non-Jew – Ephraim. However, rather than be jealous, Ephraim needs to get with the program. He needs to realize that he will only attain the fulness of his hope when he recognizes that he too is an integral “part of” the Kingdom of Israel. (To be “part of” does not mean to be “all,” nor does it mean to “replace” those of Judah.)

We need to understand that our names are not added to the Book of Life, rather, names are erased from the Book of Life (Psalm 69:28; Revelation 13:8, 17:8). Moreover, branches are broken off the Olive Tree of Israel for unbelief. And, those who are “(re)grafted” into the root that is Messiah are “olive” branches that became “wild.” However, they are nonetheless “olive” branches, and “Israel” is the “olive tree” (Jeremiah 11:10,16; 2:18,21; Romans 11:17-24).

No Hope And Without God In The World

Let us now look in greater detail at the message the Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, gave to the Ephesians. For Paul’s message emphasizes the requirement for both individual and national relationships:

Remember that you were at that time separate from Yeshua, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2: 12)

Paul gives three reasons why the Ephesians previously had no hope and had been without God in the world. Let us again look at the first two reasons:

1. Separated From Yeshua. They were separated from Yeshua: They were not saved. Again, we can all agree that not having obtained individual salvation is any individual’s greatest problem. But, it was, according to Paul, not their only problem.

2. Alienated From The Commonwealth of Israel. They were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel. The King James translates this as being aliens rather than excluded from. However, Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament says, apallotriow (ap-al-lot-ree-o’-o), rather than being translated alien, would be better translated if given the force of the verb alienated; as if they had once been otherwise. They were once in a condition other than that of being alienated or being aliens.

If we use alienated rather than excluded, the verse reads: “Remember that you were at the time (prior to having hoped in Yeshua)[6] separate from Yeshua, alienated (withdrawn or detached)[7] from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

Truly, the translation of one word can make a profound difference in our belief structure.

The Mystery Is Solved! We Are A “Returning” People!

Another example of how mistranslation of one word can make a profound difference in what we believe is found in the Greek word epistrepho, which word James uses when delivering the conclusions of the only recorded meeting of the Jerusalem council: “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are epistrepho to Yahveh from among the Gentiles.” (Acts 15:15-19)

Most translate this Word as “turning,” which translation indicates a process, rather than an accomplished fact.

James is referring to Gentiles who are in the process of epistrepho to Yahveh. The King James translate this as, are turned, which indicates an accomplished fact rather than a process. However, epistrepho, could just as well be translated returning, or returned! Strong defines “epistrepho (ep-ee-stref’-o) as “to revert (lit., fig. or mor.): – come (go) again, convert, (re-) tum (about, again).”

What a difference between turning, turned, and returning! Surely it would rock the doctrines of Christianity if they accepted the translation, “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are returning to Yahveh from among the Gentiles.” Then they would see that through James the Holy Spirit is solving the “mystery of the Gentiles.”

Another Scriptural nail that can be used to hammer home the truth that these so called Gentiles were descendants of those who formerly were members of the commonwealth of Israel and were thus returning is found in Romans Chapter Eleven, which deals with the retrieval of branches from the Olive Tree of Israel that had become wild, but were being grafted back into the cultivated tree.

For Paul, speaking to these formerly wild branches, recalls Isaiah’s prophecy, foretelling the day when Yahveh would deliver Israel and forgive Jacob’s iniquity (Isaiah 27:1-9; Romans 11:27). Then Paul says the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable, and that, even though you wild branches were once disobedient to God, you are now being shown mercy (Romans 11:29-30).[8]

If Paul lumps the Wild, or formerly disobedient branches, and the cultivated, branches together as being those on whom the Father is having mercy, then he is in fact saying they all are part of Israel. After all, to be disobedient to Yahveh one had to have known, at some time in the past, His standards – which standards they were expected to obey.

Who better fits this bill than the lost, dispersed sheep of Ephraim, those once alienated from the commonwealth by being swallowed up among the nations, and yet in Paul’s day were being regathered – returning to Yahveh from among the Gentiles (Hosea 8:8; Amos.9:9; Acts 15: 15-19; Ephesians 2: 12). Who better fits this description than Ephraim, the “fulness of Gentiles” (Genesis 48: 19)?

So why has the church missed the truth of the mystery of the Gentiles and the importance of being part of the Commonwealth of Israel?

Ephraim’s Lo Ammi Punishment

Because these returning so-ca1led Gentiles were being punished! And their punishment was: “You are not My people and I am not your God”(Hosea 1:9).[9] Yet the day would come when He would end their punishment and would once again consider them as His people and He would be their God (Hosea 1:10).

To understand the importance and difference between a corporate relationship and an individual relationship with Yahveh, we briefly recount His relationship with Abraham’s descendants. For, from Abraham’s descendants He choose Isaac, and from Isaac’s descendants Jacob was chosen, then Jacob had twelve sons whom Yahveh called Israel (2 Kings 17:34). These twelve tribes served as the physically identifiable presence of Yahveh’s corporate people on earth until the seventh century B.C. In that fateful century, ten of the tribes were slowly absorbed into the nations and were no longer physically identifiable as part of the corporate people of the God of Israel. Then the fifth century drew to a close, the Southern Kingdom, Judah, was scattered among the nations; but a remnant of Judah maintained their identity during their seventy year exile in Babylon, and they have been known as Jews to this day.

However, these few Jews are not all Israel! Even today, with the establishment of a secular Jewish state, we do not have the promised restoration of the Davidic Kingdom. Having the tents of Judah go up first is the beginning, but not the end of the restoration process (Zechariah 12:7)! The fulness of the restoration will only be experienced when all Israel is once again physically identifiable, and physically occupying the land promised to the Patriarchs. It will be fulfilled only when all Israel is ruled by the King of Kings.

When did Ephraim’s punishment start? No later then 722 B.C., which year marked the final fall of the last physical vestige of the Northern Kingdom. When will it end? When the descendants of those lost ten tribes are no longer lost, but are once again recognizable as the people of Israel!

Understand that this punishment meted out to the Northern Kingdom was a corporate punishment. Scripture records that Yahveh came to a point that His corporate relationship with the Northern Kingdom of Israel was such that, for a period of time, He would not recognize them as His people, and He would not be their God. They would be alienated from the commonwealth of Israel for a season. And, until our generation, the day when Yahveh would end this corporate punishment was future.

Fortunately, we have the unmerited opportunity to be living in the day when Messianic Israel – the restored Davidic Kingdom – is being formed. Daily, the numbers of Believers, many of whom themselves, or their forefathers, returned to Yahveh from among the Gentiles, are now understanding their heritage in ever growing numbers. And they are seeing themselves as: “A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for Yahveh’s own possession, that will proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (l Peter 2:9)

Strangers to the Covenants of Promise

Let us now examine Paul’s third reason why the Ephesians previously had possessed no hope, and had been without God in the world:

3. Strangers to the Covenants of Promise. They were strangers to the covenants of promise. Fortunately, there seems to be universal agreement that the Covenants of Promise are the several renewals of Yahveh’s covenant with the Patriarchs, which covenant will culminate in the fulfillment of the Messianic Promise, which is the basis of all the covenants. For, receiving the manifestation of Yeshua in our lives is not the fulness of our hope of Glory! Rather, His presence gives us the hope that one day we will realize the fulness of our inheritance, which will be consummated at His promised coming.

It is to this divine Messianic perfection of all things that we look for fulfillment of our hope. For, at Yeshua’s return, the prophecy He gave Ezekiel so long ago will no longer look to a future event. Rather it will be a record of an accomplished fact:

“Behold, I have taken the sons of Israel from among the nations where they had gone, and I have gathered them from every side and brought them into their own land; and they are now one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king is king for all of them; and they are no longer two nations, and they are no longer divided into two kingdoms. And they no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I have delivered them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and I have cleansed them. And they are My people, and I Am their God. And My servant David is King over them, and they have One Shepherd; and they walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. And they live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which their fathers lived; and they will continue to live on it, they, and their sons, and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant is their prince forever And I have made a covenant of peace with them; it is an everlasting covenant with them. And I have placed them and multiplied them and have set My sanctuary in their midst forever.” (Fulfilled rendering of Ezekiel 37 21-27)[10]

Obtaining Our Messianic Hope

At this juncture in history what can we forerunners reasonably expect that the Church, and the Jewish people, will do to hasten Yeshua’s return and the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel?[11] The Church at large doesn’t see the restoration of a Davidic Kingdom as their goal. They are headed for a Kingdom in heaven, and not to one that will be established on this earth.[12] On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of the Jewish people do not envision a Messiah who is the Son of God. So, an intelligent answer to the question of what we can reasonably expect the parties to do to advance the cause of restoring the Kingdom to Israel, is: Without the injection of dramatic change – not much.

Yet it is the Church and the Jewish people whose ranks contain the remnant of Israel, the remnant whom Yahveh is once again placing in the Promised Land.

As Forerunner We Face . . .

By default, the ball is in our court.

What are we to do with it? What are we forerunners who have been given the Hope of Messianic Israel – the reunion of Ephraim and Judah and the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel – to do? What can we realistically accomplish toward these age ending goals? After all, we are pitifully few in number, financially challenged [poor], already overworked and over-committed, and, our vision is rejected by “the Church,” Judaism, and by most Messianic Jews – who should be our co-workers in this restoration process.

Let’s face it, there are giants in the land, and we are but grasshoppers in their sight. But most unfortunately, we are grasshoppers in our own sight.

Maybe we should go back to Egypt?

Does this account sound familiar? Is not our problem the same one our fathers faced in the desert when Yahveh placed before them the promised land?[13]

Giants In The Land!!!

You remember the story.

Yahveh said to Moses, “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes. . . .”

So, Moses sent a representative from each tribe to spy out their destination, the promised land of Canaan. Unfortunately, ten spies came back with a bad report:

“We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey…Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there.”

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”

So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size . . . and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! And why is Yahveh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If Yahveh is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us – a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against Yahveh; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and Yahveh is with us; do not fear them.”

But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of Yahveh appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel. And Yahveh said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.”

Fortunately, Yahveh honored Moses’ intercession for the people and did not destroy them; however, He would punish them, for He said to Moses, “I have pardoned them according to your word . . . Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.”

So Yahveh meted out two fates to Israel. For those who had grumbled against Him . . . “your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you . . . Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey – I will bring them in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected. But as for you, your corpses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they shall suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years . . . I, Yahveh, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they shall die.” (Numbers 13:l-14-35)

Yahveh told our forefathers that He would give them the land of Canaan. The problem was the bad report of 10 men – which bad report caused 599,988 men of Israel to lose faith and not believe in His promises! The solution to the problem was – 2 men of Israel did believe Him! The 10, plus the 599,988, or 599,998 unbelievers, died in the wilderness. The 2 believers entered the promised land!

Grasshoppers Or Good Witnesses?

Yahveh has promised that He will restore the Kingdom to Israel. “They were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority”’ (Acts 1:6-7).

It has been almost two thousand years since Yeshua spoke these words of promise, and, millions of Israelites have walked this earth and have died in the wilderness. Now it is our turn to walk this earth. The question is, will we too die in the wilderness? Our only hope to avoid this fate is the hope that we are the generation that has been foreordained to receive the restored Kingdom.

Admittedly, we do not know whether or not we are that generation. However, we have, as did our forefathers in the wilderness, a freewill choice to make:

We can believe or not believe our Father’s promises! We can be grasshoppers or good witnesses!

Yes. We can elect to live our lives as if we are that chosen generation that will see the return of the Greater Son of David and the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. And, if our lamps are filled with oil, and it turns out that we have labored to accomplish the right tasks in the wrong generation, we are far better off than having labored to accomplish the wrong tasks in the right generation.

By laboring to accomplish those tasks, which Scripture requires be completed prior to the Messiah’s return and establishment of His kingdom, we will, at the very least have been an example. We will have been an example that will help prepare the next generation to be on the alert and ready for the return of the Bridegroom. But, if our lamps are not filled, and the Bridegroom returns, we, like our forefathers who did not believe, will die in the wilderness.

We’ve Circled The Mountain Long Enough

IDF officer helping Ethiopian immigrants out of the C-130 Hercules transport during Operation Solomon, May 25, 1991. National Photo Collection, Israel, #D205-116.

After forty years in the wilderness, a time came when Yahveh said to Moses: “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.” (Deuteronomy 2:2-3)

We too have circled our mountain long enough. It is time to turn east, time to answer the Father’s whistle as He calls Ephraim to come trembling from the west. It is time to return to the land promised to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Isaiah 11:11; Hosea 11:11; Zechariah 10:7-10).

How do we answer the whistle? Obviously, at this time we can’t climb on a plane and in a mass move to Israel. For the most part, we can’t afford such a move, and we wouldn’t be welcomed in Israel. But, these obstacles are the giants that Yahveh will overcome at the appointed time. Our job is to prepare for our appointed time. How do we do that?

Many of you will undoubtedly remember Operation Solomon from a few years ago. In it, the Israelis, ahead of a rebel horde marching on Addis Abba (the capital of Ethiopia), airlifted out some 15,000 Falashas (Black Jews) in thirty-six hours. Quite a feat. But an even greater feat was having 15,000 Falashas at the airport. Where did they come from? Why were they there? How did they get there?

In the early sixties, two Israelis (shades of Joshua and Caleb – two witnesses) were sent on a mission to Ethiopia to investigate the Falashas, who claimed to be descendants of King Solomon. Why? Because if they were Jews, then they should have the opportunity to return to the land of Israel.

These two witnesses were the initial link in a chain that, over thirty years later, would have 15,000 Falashas at the Addis Abba airport, who would in turn be airlifted out in an astounding thirty-six hours.

What did these two witnesses do? They instructed the Falashas as to their true identity, and they informed them about their inheritance: they planted a seed.[14]

The Forerunner’s Mission

As forerunners, we too are links in the chain the Father is forging that He might deliver Ephraim from the nations and reunite him with Judah. So, let each of us be a strong link in that chain, and let us link-up with others. Let us begin to instruct other Ephraimites as to their true identity, and to inform them of their inheritance. For, in this manner, we will help fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the instruction of Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:19). Or at least, we will plant a seed.

Admittedly the task of instructing Ephraim holds the hope of advancing the future goal of Kingdom restoration. And, many have a problem of relating a future goal to everyday life and with the ever-present goal to love one another as Yeshua has loved us (1 John 4:10-19). So they concentrate their efforts and resources on the present, often at the expense of the future. Yet the day will come when the future becomes our present.

Can we at the same time pursue our present and future goals? Are these two goals compatible?

Yes we can. Yes they are. Indisputably, the solution to all this world’s ills is for the kingdoms of this world to become the Kingdom of Our Messiah! Therefore, any and all efforts to further the cause of Kingdom restoration can surely be counted as acts of loving one another.

For example, in France it is a crime not to help someone you see in distress. Without a doubt Yahveh’s compassion exceeds that of the French. And surely He expects us to help those we see in need and distress. For this is the theme of the parable of the judgment of the sheep and goats, and it is the very heart of love (Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 13).

There is no shortage of those in need and distress. Daily we see a lost and hopeless world, suffering from the ravages of depraved men, groaning in futility under the sting of death (Romans 2, 8; I Corinthians 15:55-56). What can we do to help? What does Our Father expect from we forerunners?

A lot! Why? Because we have been given the key: That key being the key of David. For it is the return the Greater Son of David, of He who holds that key, of He who will, at His return to a united people of Israel, reveal His sons, and thereby deliver creation from its futility, and destroy our final enemy – which is death – and thus, He will restore the Kingdom to Israel (Romans 8:18-20; I Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 3:7-8; Ezekiel 37:22-28).

Admittedly the task of uniting Israel is by our standards an impossible task. Which, according to Watchman Nee assures us that it is a task from Yahveh, based on the fact that we cannot accomplish it without Him. What is our part? What is Yahveh’s part? And, how do we tell the difference?

One well known evangelist gave a good answer to these questions when he said, “The more l show my faith by my works the more I see the works of God accomplished.” This should not surprise us. because Yahveh has a track record of working through men.

Passive or Involved?

Again the question: What can we do to help? We can be passive, and limit our involvement to prayer, and let the Holy Spirit accomplish the actual instruction of those Ephraimites that He wants returned to an understanding of their heritage and purpose. Or, we can pray and get involved. If we do get involved, we will find, that the more we witness, the more people will be led by the Holy Spirit into an understanding of their heritage and purpose.

We can try. Therefore, let us take full advantage of every opportunity to help restore the Kingdom. At the very least, let us put as much of our energies and resources in attempting to attain our goals as did those who had a part in the building of great cathedrals and halls of learning, placing a church on every corner, and carrying the Gospel of personal salvation throughout the earth. After all, can we be critical of them and accomplish less?

If You Had A Million Dollars

One last thought. If you had a million dollars, and a whole year completely free to devote to Yahveh’s purposes, what would you do with your time and money?

OK, you don’t have a million dollars and a year. But you do have a dollar and an hour. And, Yahveh’s rewards are not based on what we have, but rather on what we do with what we have (Matthew 25: 14-30).


[1] One excellent way to see prophecy in action is to go to Israel with people who have helped Jewish farmers harvest their crops for years. Hayovel is a Christian organization that has acted on these same promises, bringing volunteers to Israel to labor in the vineyards and fields to help bring prophecy into fulfillment. For a more complete explanation, visit https://www.hayovel.com/about/why.
[2] See Angus and Batya Wootten, “Who Told You?” House of David Herald 5-10, October 1993.
[3] “Church,” like “Israel,” is a multi-faceted name/title, and often one has to know what the author means with their use; and so we state that we realize there is an organized ecclesiastical “Church System” that ultimately will “persecute” true Believers (Rev 3:16; 2 Tim 3:1-12); and that there is a true church, an eternal ekklesia, a body of Believers who seek to follow the God of Israel (Acts 7:38; 2 Thes 1:1; 2:13). Also, there is a “Synagogue of Satan” that opposes Messiah’s claims (John 8:44; 10:33; Rev 2:9; 3:9). In this document, the term “Church” is used loosely, sometimes including those who “claim” to be part of “the church” (the true Body). This same loose standard is applied in references to “Jews/Judaism.” We trust that in the end, the Holy One Himself will decide who among both peoples is acceptable to Himself (Mat 7:23). However, because the word “Church” is derived from the Germanic word, kirke, and was first used to speak of a ritualistic circle (see Church, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Fleming Revell), we prefer the Greek, ekklesia when referring to the true called out ones (Strong’s word #G1577).
[4] See the books In Search Of Israel, and The Olive Tree of Israel, both by Batya Ruth Wootten. In Search of Israel is available through Key of David Publishing (https://www.keyofdavidpublishing.com/product/in-search-of-israel/). The Olive Tree of Israel is currently out of print.
[5] In saying this, we do not mean to deny the need for each individual to be born from above, and thus to enter into a personal relationship with Messiah Yeshua. Instead, we speak for the need to begin to see ourselves as a “corporate,” even national, people; that people being the chosen people of Israel (1 Pet 1:1; 2:9).
[6] See Ephesians 1:12-15.
[7] Alienated: To cause to be withdrawn or detached, as from one’s society, Webster ‘s New World Dictionary.
[8] See The Olive Tree Of Israel by Batya Ruth Wootten.
[9] See Angus Wootten, “Ephraim, Free At Last,” House of David Herald 8-04, April 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/ephraim-free-at-last-one-again-a-mighty-man/.
[10] See Angus and Batya Wootten, “From Roman Roads to the World Wide Web,” House of David Herald 9-07, July 1997.
[11] See Angus Wootten, “The Messianic Vision,” House of David Herald 9-01, January 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/2643-2/.
[12] See Batya Wootten, “Rapture or Transformation? Escape or Victory?” House of David Herald 7-04, April 1995, and Bob Fraley, “Should I Believe In The Pre-Tribulation Rapture?” House of David Herald 7-05, May 1995.
[13] See Michael Arnold, “Overcoming Religion – Possessing The Land,” House of David Herald 9-09, September 1997.
[14] The author, having served in Ethiopia in the early sixties as a US Army staff officer, and as an advisor to the Ethiopian Army, can attest to these facts – having met and talk with the two Israeli witnesses.