[Editor’s note: What greater purpose in life could there be than laboring to see the Kingdom of Heaven fully manifested on earth? This is in accordance with our Messiah’s instructions in His model prayer for us:
Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10 TLV)
This is the goal and hope of God’s people, but few think about how the Kingdom will come about, or what it will look like when it is here. One thing that is clear according to Scripture is that there is only one Kingdom, and it is called Israel. This is the foundational understanding of everything Angus and Batya wrote. In this article, first published in 1995, they briefly outline what Scripture says about the structure of the Kingdom, and what we can do to see its prophesied restoration come to pass.]
Where Is Ephraim? And Where Is He Going?
By Angus and Batya Wootten – July 1995
Jacob, when on his deathbed, blessed Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. In that blessing, the Patriarch prophesied that Ephraim’s descendants would become a “melo ha goyim,” or, “fullness of the Gentiles” (Genesis 48:19). Many centuries later, when Jacob’s sons had become the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the nation divided into two houses: Ephraim and Judah, Israel’s Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Both kingdoms disobeyed Yahveh, but Ephraim even went so far as to become nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding nations (“gentiles”). The disobedience of both houses brought on Yahveh’s sentence of judgment: exile into the nations.
Before scattering the “gentilized” Ephraimites, Yahveh sent the prophet Hosea to them, through whom He declared that the Ten Tribes would be scattered among all the nations (Jezreel), and thus lose their identity as Israelites (Lo-Ammi). However, He also said that one day they would “respond to Jezreel,” meaning their scattering. Like seed, they would experience a second birth that would make them once again the people of Israel. Even as the prophets prophesied, countless numbers of these scattered sheep have been found by the “Shepherd,” and so have “become sons of the Living God” (Amos 9:9; Hosea 1-2; Ezekiel 34:6-23; Romans 9:26).
Further, Yahveh has a plan for “reborn” Ephraim. It is a three-fold plan that will reunite the two houses of Israel: Ephraim and Judah. He will use this reunited people to fulfill His ultimate goal: that of bringing heaven to earth. To accomplish this task, Yahveh Elohim will –
Reunite Ephraim and Judah
Restore the Kingdom to a reunited Israel, and usher in Messiah’s return (John 17; Romans 11:25-26, Jeremiah 31:18-19. Isaiah 8:14; 11:11-14; Ezekiel 37:15-28).
Who will Yahveh use to execute this plan? Scripture and history are clear. Yahveh uses and works with man in fulfilling Biblical prophecy. In the matter of reuniting His nation, He has placed the responsibility of reconciliation on Ephraim, who is the wild olive branch (Jeremiah 2:18, 21; 11:10, 16, Isaiah 11:13; Romans 11:11, 15:25-26).
Therefore, Yahveh is issuing a call to the Ephraimites: He is “whistling” for Ephraim. He is strengthening those who answer His call by removing the blindness regarding their identity – that they may again be like mighty men. Yahveh is giving these Ephraimites a “knowing” deep within their being that they are Israelites. This “knowing” is like the “knowing” they have regarding their personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And, this “knowing” is changing their lives. It is causing them to see the need to walk in righteousness as Israelites, and it is giving them an even deeper love for their brother, Judah (Zechariah 10:7-12, Hosea 11:10; Romans 11:25; Isaiah 27:9).
In the forefront of this regathering are those who realize the Father would use them to accomplish His Divine Mandate for Ephraim. Thus, they seek to instruct others whom the Father is awakening about their identity and about their responsibility – as “watchmen” for the whole house of Israel (Hosea 9:8; Ezekiel 3:17; Habakkuk 2:1).
These “forerunners” realize this most important of jobs will be accomplished one Ephraimite at a time. They also know their seemingly unimportant accomplishments will ultimately result in the reunification of the two houses of Israel. These “forerunners” realize this integral reunion will only be accomplished by a people who are being led by the Spirit of Yahveh, and that a people truly walking in accord with His Spirit will result in Messiah’s return and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
It only takes one little step. Perhaps that of asking the Father how this message should change your personal walk. Perhaps sharing with a friend. It just takes little steps. But, they will prove to be steps that will result in the return of our King!
Where will these steps ultimately take us?
Back to our Land.
We will return to our Land because He who scattered Israel also has promised:
“I will give her . . . the valley of Achor [from the root word for “trouble”] as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. ‘And it will come about in that day,’ declares Yahveh, ‘That you will call me Ishi [Husband] and will no longer call Me Baali [Lord]. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, so that they will be mentioned by their names no more. In that day I will also make a covenant for them . . . and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war form the land, and will make them lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever; Yes I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in loving kindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.’ Then you will know Yahveh. ‘And it will come about in that day that I will respond,’ declares Yahveh. . . ‘And they will respond to Jezreel. And I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘Thou are my God!’” (Hosea 2:16-23; also see Romans 9:15-26).
Yes! We will yet return to the Land of our forefathers! But to do so, we must take our first step. . . .
[Editor’s note: Has there ever been a time that the people of God have served Him without error? Never – or at least, not yet. Even at the dedication of the Tabernacle, grievous error caused the untimely deaths of Aaron’s two sons when they made serious mistakes in their priestly service (Leviticus 10:1-7). Whether it is incomplete or erroneous understanding of scripture, or unrighteous heart attitudes, Abraham’s children in both Houses of Israel have always come short of the glory of God.
This is problem enough when it interferes with our relationship with the Almighty, but how much human suffering has this caused because one segment of the people, whether Jewish or Christian, regards the other as wrong and subject to judgment? That, of course, is the entire story of human history. The question for us, it would seem, is whether we will continue in this way, or transcend the examples of the past and bring lasting peace in the Lord’s house.
Angus and Batya Wootten probed that question in this article first published in 1994. They counsel that instead of finding fault both with the institutional church and with Judaism, we should recognize that each is doing a work commissioned by our Heavenly King, and that they are indispensable to the restoration of His Kingdom. With that as our starting point, maybe we can serve as a bridge between the two, finding a way to bring these two houses of Israel together in peace and reconciliation.]
The Greco, Roman, Westernized Church: Good and Bad
By Angus and Batya Wootten – April 1994
It is time for we who love all Israel to awaken the melo goyim, to stir up the “fullness of Gentiles.” We must awaken the “other” house of Israel, Ephraim. We must arouse him to the truth of his roots.
Our Father speaks of a day when He “hears Ephraim grieving,” it is a time when the children of those destined to become a “melo goyim” cry out: “O Lord, You have chastened me, but I needed it. I behaved as an untrained calf, refusing to accept Your yoke. I ask You now to bring me back to allow me to return in repentance, for my exile has led me to remorse. Surely now that I have been instructed, now that I have come to know the truth about myself, I have repented. In great humility, I smote myself on the thigh, I beat myself on the breast, because I am thoroughly ashamed of the pagan sin and disgrace of my youth.” (Jeremiah 31: 18, 19, Authors Amplified Translation).
This prophesied grieving brings about a great change in this “fullness of Gentiles.” Ephraim finally turns from his centuries-long penchant for paganism. He no longer wants to be like the Gentiles; rather, he longs to walk as an Israelite (Hosea 1-2). This means, once awakened to the newfound truth of his long-hidden roots, once he tums from pagan practices, he is immediately faced with the question: “How do I now celebrate the God of Israel?”
One thing is certain, if God is calling Ephraim away from every dead tradition found in institutional Christianity, we can rest assured that He is not calling him into any Jewish practices that might likewise be lifeless and ritualistic. Neither is he to return to a First Century Faith, wherein non-Jews were publicly shunned at the dinner table (Galatians 2:12). No. The God of Israel is One whose “mercies are new every morning.” He is always “doing a new thing in the earth.” And, if we will allow Him, then in this latter-day, He will do a new thing in and through us. He will use us to bring forth that which is worthy from both houses of Israel.
But, for now. . . .
“To Leave Or Not To Leave,” That Is The Question
Only the Father in Heaven knows exactly where He wants each of us at any given time, and each one must follow His leading for their lives (John 16:13). He alone tells us when to stay and when to go, thus, House of David does not encourage a “Church Exodus.”
On the other hand, we cannot ignore the self-evident problems of the institutionalized Church, nor the possibility that some segments of the Institutional Church might be given over to the Anti-Christ. “In the last days, difficult times will come. For men will be . . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. . . And indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:1-15; also see Revelation 1 3:3).Many believe the Seven Churches listed in the Book of Revelation also represent Seven Church Ages, the last being the Laodicean, that being the one that gets spewed out of Messiah’s mouth (Revelation 3:16). Thus, all true Believers will ultimately be forced to leave that Church.
In these latter days, when as individuals we face the all-important question about leaving a Church, in each case we must consider the faith and actions of the particular Church body, as well as its leadership. We must evaluate it against the truth of Scripture, and then we must act accordingly.
The Hallmarks Of A True Shepherd
Regarding leadership, we know that true shepherds “guard,” “tend,” “feed,” and “gently lead” the sheep entrusted to their care. However, Ezekiel spoke of a time when Yahveh’s sheep would have shepherds who would not feed the flock, nor seek for the scattered, nor strengthen the sickly, nor bind up the broken. Rather, they would dominate the flock with force and severity; they would feed and cloth themselves rather than their sheep; and they would tread down pastures and foul the waters with their feet. Yahveh says He will be “against” those shepherds, and that He will “demand His sheep from them.” (Acts 20:28; John 21:15-17; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:1-31)
Many shepherds turn the Scriptural instructions to “guard,” into a mandate to “control.” Ruling with “severity,” they do so in the name of “protection.”
Locked in Denominational pens, many feel they are starving. And rightly so, for they are fed no more than the milk diet of Hebrews 6:1-2, which instructs us to “press on, beyond the elementary points, which are repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection/rapture, and eternal judgement.” Sadly, because that is all that is taught, many are bored beyond belief – starved for the “meat” of the Word.
These sheep are made to drink from muddied Doctrinal Waters, and all who seek to clarify them are pounced upon. Their Shepherds appear to be unaware of the verse: “When you assemble, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. . . .” (I Corinthians 14:26)
Sheep caught in such pens are not encouraged to exercise their spiritual muscles, which exercise is the duty of a good shepherd. Rather, they are made to sit quietly in their pew-pens. That their muscles atrophy from lack of use is of no concern. The important thing is whether or not they give their funds, and whether they bring more sheep to Church, that they might also be counted. For great numbers of sheep is the goal of the shepherd. And, those who help accomplish his goal are rewarded with an empty title.
Yet, even so, there are those who, for various legitimate reasons, are being called by the Father to serve Him in these Churches. . . .
Free To Encourage Or Exhort
Those called to such Church ministry should pattern their actions after Messiah. While Yeshua participated in synagogue activities, He nonetheless held Himself apart from what He called “their” system. And so He remained free to encourage or admonish: “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! . . . These are the things you should have done. . . .” (Matthew 23:23) Like our Master, Titus 1:9 instructs each of us to, “exhort and refute with sound doctrine.” Like Yeshua, we must be dedicated to our Father’s truth, and we must be faithful, fearless, and fair, when presenting that truth. If we are not faithful, we disappoint Messiah. If we are fearful, the Institution is influencing us and not we the Institution. If we are not fair we add to an ancient problem.
Just Weights And Measures
In addition to the vast array of wrongs perpetrated by the Church against her own – very often, when non-Jewish Believers first become aware of their brother, Judah, in defense of the countless wrongs perpetrated against Jewish people in the name of the Church, they wrongfully become negative about every aspect of the Church.
However, the Word declares that, “differing weights and measures arc abominable to the Lord.” Yahveh demands that His children use “’Just weights and measures.” This holds true for Christianity and Judaism alike (Proverbs 20:10; 16:11; Leviticus 19:36).
Thus, in defense of the good the Church has done, ask any Believer: “What is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to you?” Invariably, the reply is, “Meeting Messiah.”
A personal encounter with Messiah Yeshua is glorious, life-changing. There is nothing to which it can be compared. And yet, our Father has allowed that for hundreds and hundreds of years, this most wonderful of encounters has been made possible through – perhaps more accurately, in spite of – the efforts of the Greco Roman, Westernized, Cultural Church.
Good and Bad. The Church system that every true Believer owes some credit to, for bringing them into the most glorious event known to man, also is full of error.
How then should we regard this Church?
We must give her credit for the good she has done: Proclaiming, preserving and publishing the New Covenant, telling the world about Jesus and His salvation. For, she has been the primary source for aiding many in the world to know Messiah. Also, we must judge her with “righteous judgement” (John 7:24), which is to judge with perfect equity. For, that is the way Yeshua will judge us: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) To rightly judge a matter requires that we give full credit for both good and bad.
Regarding some of her “bad,” it is as Howard A. Snyder says in his Intervarsity Press book, The Problem Of Wineskins: “It is hard to escape the conclusion that today one of the greatest roadblocks to the gospel of Jesus Christ is the institutional church . . . [it] too often represents something radically different from the Jesus Christ of the Bible.”
It also is as Robert C. Girard says in his Zondervan Press book, Brethren, Hang Together: “The church itself, because of its institutional focus, has become a major hindrance to the fulfillment of Christ’s scheme for effective revelation of Himself in the word. This is extremely difficult (perhaps impossible) for those committed to the perpetuation of the church as an institution to see. Much of the American evangelical movement, for instance, is presently engaged in a narcissistic love affair with success, power, and cultural acceptance. On its current crest of prestige . . . it will find it extremely difficult to face the suggestion that it is doing anything wrong.”
Let’s Stop The War!
We who have seen the truth about the two houses of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, Christians and Jews, we, above all people, should be aware of the enmity that has so long existed between them. We also should realize that both perpetuate some error, and both put forth some truth in their doctrines, both seek the title of Israel for themselves, and each discounts the other as a legitimate heir of Israel.
The truth is that Ephraim and Judah are the “Two Witnesses.” Each gives forth a certain testimony about the God of Israel. As such, each has been given a different “job” to do. Judah has kept alive the Law and the Feasts of Israel, and the Church has kept alive the truth that Jesus is the Messiah. But, the fact is, we need both the Feasts and the Messiah. If we have only Messiah, we do not know how to fully celebrate Him. If we have only the Feasts, we do not have the primary reason for celebrating them.
As Believers, when we unrighteously judge, favoring or disparaging either house, we only succeed in perpetuating their ancient war.
If we want to see the “Two Sticks” of Ephraim and Judah made “one” in the Father’s Hand, it is incumbent upon us to begin to fairly and rightly judge the two. For, there are those in both houses to whom the Lord would have us minister, and any undeserved partiality perceived in us may be used to turn them away.
When we give credit where credit is due, when we seek to correct with perfect equity, then, we cease to be part of the problem and begin to be part of the solution. Then, we can be used to awaken Ephraim, and so to reunite the two houses of Israel.
And so we pray that all our exhortations, whether directed toward Judah or Ephraim, be given in this spirit: that our intent be not so much to speak against their past errors, as it is to speak for the glorious future to which both Judah and Ephraim are called.
 Other house: see Jeremiah 1:10, 16; Isaiah 8:14. Melo means fullness, and goyim means Gentiles. Jacob prophesied that the descendants of Ephraim would become “a fullness of Gentiles.” (Genesis 48:19) See Strong’s words #4393 and 1471. Also, the ArtScroll Tanach Series says m’loh means, a “fullness” and, “Connotes abundance . . . meaning: His seed will become the abundance of the nations . . . They will have to inhabit lands of other nations.” (Genesis, Vol 6, page 2121).
 See Batya Ruth Wootten, “The Fall And Restoration of Rootless Ephraim,” House of David Herald 5-3 (March 1993), and “Battling Brothers,” ibid. (volume unknown)
 See Batya Ruth Wootten, “Apprehending Abraham’s Blessings,” House of David Herald 5-8 (August 1993).
 Yeshua repeatedly called some of their traditions, “your” traditions (Matthew l5:3,6; Mark 7:9, 13. See Colossians 2:8).
 Angus and Batya Wootten, “Who Told You?” House of David Herald 5-1 (October 1993), and Wootten and Delacruz, “The Crossroads at Laodicea.”
 See 1 Corinthians 5:12, Psalm 96:10; 98:9, 99:4.
 Howard A. Snyder, chapter 1, The Problem of Wineskins: Church Structure in Technological Age (Intervarsity Press, 1975).
 Robert C. Girard, Preface, Brethren, hang together: Restructuring the church for relationships (Zondervan, 1979).
 See Batya Ruth Wootten, “How Can We Stop the Nations from Molesting Israel?” House of David Herald 4-8 (October 1992), and Wootten, “Battling Brothers.”
 Judah witnesses to the fact that the God of Israel has a high standard which is outlined in His Law. Ephraim witnesses to the fact that by Grace, we can be redeemed from the curse that comes from breaking that Law. The Two Witnesses: Judah and Ephraim, Law and Grace. See Batya Ruth Wootten, “The Olive Tree and Its ‘Natural Branches’,” and “Torah and the Two Witnesses,” House of David Herald 12-7 (July 2000) and 6-11 (November 1994).
 When Ephraim and Judah unite as brothers, they become a dedicated army, one that truly serves Yahweh Tze’va’ot, “The Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” See 1 Samuel 17:45; Isaiah 11:13-14; Obadiah 1:18; Zechariah 9:13; Ezekiel 37:15-28.
[Editor’s note: What happens when we learn who we are? This is a question of identity beyond our present reality, but who we are stretching back through time to the peoples and places our or origins? Could it be that ignorance of our ancestral past contributes to the rootlessness and angst so common in the lives even of Yeshua’s followers?
This is a line of thinking that Angus and Batya Wootten investigate in one of the first articles published in the House of David Herald. In this piece from 1989, they are bold enough to ask what it really means to be adopted into God’s family, what it means to be the see of Abraham, and how the two parts of Abraham’s seed, identified most commonly as Jews and Christians, are to join one day to complete the covenant nation God established through Abraham.]
The Faith of Abraham
By Angus and Batya Wootten – February 1989
What did Abraham believe? Furthermore, what must we, his heirs, believe?
We know that when Abram did believe the Lord, “God credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
The importance of Abraham’s faith, and his resultant righteousness, cannot be over emphasized.
The promises made to Abraham were so important that God confirmed them on eleven different occasions: to Abraham seven times, to Isaac twice, and to Jacob twice. These three were “fellow heirs of the same promise.” (Hebrews 11:9)
Abraham believed the Lord when He said: “I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” (Genesis 17:5-7, NIV)
With Abraham there began a new birth in the history of mankind. For, he is “the father of all who believe.” (Romans 4:11)
Only With Us
Abraham’s faith had a powerful impact upon history. However, in regard to the great men of faith, we are told: “These were commended for their faith, yet . . . only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39) The covenant promises made to Abraham are imperfect without us! It is only in and through us that the faith of all generations will be realized (Hebrews 11:39, 40)!
We are part of the promise when we “walk in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” (Romans 4:12) Then, we are his children. It is not enough to simply be Abraham’s physical child. We also must have the faith of Abraham! But, to have the faith of Abraham, we first must truly understand what Abraham believed! Then, we will know what we, his heirs, must believe.
When God told Abraham that He was going to bless him, God said: “Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward. But Abram said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said: “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’ Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir. He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the Heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then He said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:1-6, NIV)
Abraham, childless at the age of 85, had a 75 year old wife. Still, looking down the corridors of time, he believed that he would not have to adopt an heir! Rather, Abraham believed that his heir would come from his own body! Furthermore, he believed that through this heir, his seed would be multiplied until it was as numerous as the stars! And, he believed God would be a personal God to these children.
If we have the faith of Abraham, we too must believe what he believed! But we must believe it from a different perspective.
Four thousand years later, we must believe that Abraham did have an heir from his own body (Isaac). And, through that heir, his seed has become as numerous as the stars! This faith requirement is the keystone of all Scripture!
According to Hebrews 6, it is the acceptance of this promise that leads the Believer from the elementary teachings of Messiah, and on to maturity!
Hebrews also tells us a mature Believer needs a diet of meat. For, “Anyone who lives on milk, [or, elementary truths], being still an infant is not acquainted with the teachings about righteousness.” (Hebrews 5:13) Obviously, we will be righteous if we believe the same thing Abraham believed! When we digest the meat of the Word promised to Abraham – we will perceive our physical inheritance and identity – even as we have perceived our spiritual inheritance and identity. Then, we will realize the full truth of the Scripture: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
The Spirit of Adoption
Nowhere in Scripture are we told we are adopted as Abraham’s sons. Rather, of the five times adoption is mentioned in Scripture, each speaks of our adoption as “the sons of God.” It is God’s family that we are adopted into – not Abraham’s!
Why should we believe we are physical, rather than adopted sons of Abraham?
First, we must believe it because Abraham was told he would not adopt – rather, he was told his heirs would come from his own body.
Secondly, nowhere in Scripture are we told we are adopted as Abraham’s sons! Rather, of the five times adoption is mentioned in Scripture, each speaks of our adoption as “thesons of God.” It is God’s family that we are adopted into – not Abraham’s! God said myriads of physical descendants would be born into Abraham’s family. However, this is only an earthly promise. In order for us to live eternally, we must be adopted into God’s family. We must believe that God is a personal God to us, even as He promised He would be. This occurs when we experience the second birth, which is a birth by faith. When we are born from above, then we receive the Spirit of adoption, and thus we become a member of God’s family. Furthermore, all must receive this adoption: Jew, Gentile, bond or free!
Last, but not least, there is an inherent danger in denying our birthright! “Esau despised his birthright,” then could find “no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” Because Esau disregarded his birthright, he is called “godless” and was “hated” (Genesis 25:34; Romans 9:13; Hebrews 12:16,17).
We must realize that great numbers of physical descendants were promised to Abraham! Whole nations were to come forth from him! Abraham was specifically told: “None but him that shall come forth from within you shall be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4, ArtScroll Tanach Series) If we cannot believe this promise of God, how can we believe any other promise?
For too long, we have not rightly divided the truth about Abraham’s descendants. For too long, “Gentile Believers” have been crippled by the lie that they are his adopted heirs.
The fact that Roots was the most watched television series ever speaks of the importance mankind gives to a knowledge of their roots. People want to know from whence they came. Our roots give us a sense of belonging – a feeling that we are part of history. Our roots tell us about ourselves – who and what we are. Through them we discern our inheritance.
The world is full of stories of adopted people who have sought long and hard to find out from whom they were descended. Most adoptees have difficulties with feelings of rejection, abandonment, not being wanted.
No amount of worked-up self-esteem, fortitude, or tenacity will cover for the feeling of being a rootless, adopted, second class, citizen. Further the feeling of being adopted can produce resentment toward the child that was fortunate enough to be “natural born.” (Could this be one of the sources of anti-semitism?)
Speaking to those who call themselves “Gentile Christians”: What if Jesus Himself told you that you were a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Would not the Bible be more alive to you? What if, when reading the Scriptures, you knew for a fact that these were your forefathers? What if you realized that God foreknew you before the foundation of the world – saw you in Abraham’s loins – called you in Isaac – predestined you to be one in Him, through the Messiah! Would it not add to the glory of what God has already done in your life through the Messiah?
Yes, it would. And therefore, your identity as a descendant of Abraham is important. The fact is, the truth about your roots tells you about your Biblical inheritance. It tells you about the destiny God has planned for you and what He has planned for you to become. It is Abraham’s children who will rule with God. It is his descendants who will “possess the gates of their enemies.” (Genesis 22:17) It was “In Isaac that his seed was called.” (Hebrews 11:18) And, it was Isaac’s son, Jacob, that was called to be Israel, meaning: A powerful, prevailing prince, a soldier of God, one who rules with the Almighty!
But, if we are Abraham’s descendants, and thus, Israel what about the Jewish people? Are they also Israel?
The answer is yes. Because in Scripture there were, and still are, two houses of Israel (Isaiah 8:14; Ezekiel 37:15-Z8). The two houses are called Ephraim and Judah. Both serve God’s purposes – as His two witnesses in the earth. They are His two olive branches. Also, both of these houses have experienced the “partial hardening” that is spoken of in Roman’s 11:25.
Judah is the house of Israel that God has used to uphold His Law. For, “where there is no law, there is no transgression.” (Romans 4:15, NIV)
Furthermore, “The Law is our tutor to bring us to Messiah.” (Galatians 3:24) Judah knows their roots as Israelites – but they have been hardened to a knowledge of the Messiah.
Ephraim, on the other hand, has been used to establish the principle of “salvation by faith.” They know, and have a personal relationship with, the Messiah of Israel. However, they have been hardened as to their roots as Israelites. They do not realize that they too are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They do not realize that Judah is literally their brother.
The Revelation of the Sons of God
These two brothers are likened to the Cherubim over the Ark in the Tabernacle. One day they will recognize each other. They will reach out to touch each other even as the wings of the Cherubim touch each other. Then, and only then, will we see the Glory of God. Then, His Presence will be made manifest in us.
When these two reach out to one another – when they repent of their sins toward one another – and forgive one another – then the world will in truth see the sons of God!
The whole world “waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known.” (Romans 8:19, AMP) But these sons will not be fully made known until they realize their identity as sons of Abraham – and unite in the Messiah!
The Apostle Paul speaks of “a mystery” in Romans 11:25. He says, “a hardening in part, has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The fullness of Gentiles is the “melo goyim,” promised to Ephraim (Genesis 48:19). This “hardening” was to remain until the fullness of the Gentiles was brought in. Thus, it is our Father’s plan to save all Israel!
Many believe “the times of the Gentiles” are over. If that is so, then it is time for the veil to come off the eyes of all Israel! It is time for Ephraim to recognize his roots! It is time for the two houses of Israel to unite in Messiah! Only in this way will all Israel be saved!
Eating Meat Is Doing
Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.” (John 4:34, KJV) To eat meat is to do the will of the One who sent us. Likewise, Abraham’s seed was sent forth and commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply.” In other words, they were to increase, to be made great, to excel-exceedingly, and to be in positions of authority. That is the call of the physical, faith-filled seed of Abraham!
Hebrews six warns us not to be sluggish about understanding our inheritance as Abraham’s children. Rather, we are to change our diet to one of meat. We are to be like Isaac, faith-filled children of the promise, having a sure and steadfast hope (Galatians 4:28; Hebrews 5:13-20).
O Father, we ask You to lift the veil from the eyes of all Israel.
Amen and Amen
 See Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5. Note that the Spirit of adoption as sons of God belongs to the sons of Israel. In other words, it is the Israelites who receive the invitation to come into God’s family!
 See John 1:13; 3:3; Galatians 3:22, 26, 29; 1 Peter 1:3, 23; 1 John 3:9.
 The right of the first born belonged to Joseph, whose heir was Ephraim, who is called the Firstborn. Ephraim is one of the two houses of Israel. This house of Israel was to be scattered among “all the nations.” Ultimately, their descendants were to become the “sons of the Living God.” Thus, as the people of Ephraim – or, the Congregation of the Firstborn – we must not despise our birthright. (See 1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Genesis 48:5, 13, 14, 19; Jeremiah 31:9; Isaiah 8:14; Amos 9:9, Hosea 1:10; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Genesis 48:19; Hebrews 12:23.)
Roots is a 1977 TV miniseries adapted from the book of the same name by Alex Haley. It is his novelization of the story of his family, which is descended from Kunta Kinte, a slave taken from his homeland in Gambia in the mid-18th century. The miniseries remains one of the most popular productions ever made for television not only because of its quality, but because, as the Woottens’ say, it appeals to the desire of people to identify with their places and peoples of origin. Haley’s work about his African family made the book and the film adaptation groundbreaking achievements in the years immediately following the Civil Rights era. For more information, see the IMDB article at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075572/.
 This is not to imply that adopted people are second class. However, adoption is not the normal way one becomes a member of a family. Thus, being adopted makes one a different member of the family.
 We are in no way suggesting that anyone should attempt to trace their genealogy. In fact, it is ludicrous to try. Because of the sin of adultery, no one can be certain of who their forefathers are. Furthermore, no one can trace their genealogy back 4,000 years to Abraham. Still, God knows exactly where Abraham’s seed is, and who they are! Physical descent as an Israelite is not something that can be proven. Even as “circumcision is of the heart and our praise [confirmation] comes from God” (Romans 2:29) – so it is with our confirmation as the sons of Abraham. We cannot prove it. But, for that matter, no man can prove that we are not!
 See Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, “Introduction,” What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism (Waco, TX, Word Books, 1984).
[Editor’s note: It is probably a human tendency to assume that others will understand things the same way we do if we just acquaint them with the same information. What we do not take into account is that people have diverse personalities, circumstances, learning styles, and ways of perceiving the world. That translates into diverse understandings of the same information. Which leads to another human tendency: to resist this diversity and compel others to accept our own understanding as the correct view.
Perhaps the saddest corollary to these tendencies is that spiritually minded people are not immune to them. In fact, some of the worst excesses in human history have come because of religious differences. The Torah Awakening is no exception. This is something Angus and Batya Wootten addressed in an article published in the House of David Herald in 1999.
Since Angus left us for his eternal reward earlier this year, BYNA has been republishing his articles in tribute to his memory and in honor of his contributions to the awakening of the House of Joseph in our generation. The article posted here is the first of many we will post that Angust co-authored with Batya. While both of them wrote well and persuasively, in their collaboration we see the melding of male and female perspective to present their complete heart as a couple. Angus’ legacy would not be complete without Batya, and her legacy is incomplete without him. As we approach Sukkot, the time our Heavenly Father has set apart for Messiah and His Bride to become one, we examine what Angus and Batya share as foundational to our forward progress. Their counsel? Rather than preach and argue, celebrate!]
Father’s Torah and Man’s Heart
By Angus and Batya Wootten – May 1999
As redeemed Israel, how does the Father want us to walk? In particular, how does He want us to handle the issue of “law versus grace”?
We must answer these questions because, as we labor to restore both “Judah and Ephraim” as brothers, we continually encounter two primary problems, both of which have to do with the “partial hardening” of “both the houses of Israel” (Romans 11:25; Isaiah 8:14; Genesis 48:19).
These problems are:
Judah’s blindness to Messiah Yeshua as our “Divine Redeemer” (Psalm 49:7-9,15).
Ephraim’s blindness to the “wisdom of Torah” (Hosea 8: 12; Deuteronomy 4:6).
Because Israel’s restoration primarily begins with Ephraim’s actions (Isaiah 11:13; Jeremiah 31:18-19; Romans 11), we focus on his problem with “Torah.” For, with this Issue, we wish to begin a series of “Torah Studies.” However, we want them to be of a different spirit than most Torah studies we have seen thus far.
So, in our attempt to rebuild “David’s fallen house,” we will first establish the “types of materials” we will use, and we will define a certain “framework.”
To begin, we see that in the parable of the prodigal, Yeshua tells of a father who has a younger “prodigal” son, who in turn has an older brother who is not happy about the wanderer’s return home (Luke 15:11-32).
This story well depicts Ephraim’s and Judah’s present state. For, in our day many of Believing Ephraim (Genesis 48:19) are coming to a place of repentance (Jeremiah 31:18-19), and they want to return “home” to their “roots.” However, in many cases, the older son, “Judah,” is not happy with Ephraim’s emersion from the pig sty.
Again, we seek to reunite the Father’s “two brothers.” And in our article “From Orphans to Heirs,” we explained that the “how do we reunite them” answer is for Ephraim to “celebrate.”
To provoke the older brother [Judah] to jealousy, Ephraim must “make merry and be glad;” he must “celebrate and rejoice.” For our Heavenly Father wants Judah to “join the party.” He even wants those of Ephraim to make Judah “want” to join the celebration.
Yes, that is the job long ago assigned to Ephraim: Make Judah want what you have! To have Ephraim (they being the formerly “wild olive branches”) provoke Judah to “jealousy” was, and still is, the Father’s plan of salvation for “all Israel” (Jeremiah 11:10, 16; 2:18, 21; Romans 11).
The problem is, to accomplish this divine assignment, Ephraim, who has for so long seen himself as an orphan, needs to see that he too is an heir. For, then, he will cease to be “jealous” of Judah (Isaiah 11:13; Jeremiah 31:18-19). Then, he will see Judah as a “member of the family.” Then, the whole house of Israel will find total healing and restoration. And thus, Ephraim needs to see that the parable of the prodigal offers a solution to the reunion problem.
To Make Jealous – Make Merry!
In this parable, the older brother was provoked because – his younger brother was “celebrating and rejoicing,” or “making merry.” This is translated from euphraino, euphraino (yoo-frah ‘ee-no), which means, to be in a good frame of mind, to make glad, to be or to make merry, to rejoice.
Thus we see that legalism and religion will not provoke Judah. Celebration will (which explains why so many non-Jews feel an unexplainable urge to “celebrate the Feasts of Israel”).
So, as we seek to rebuild David’s fallen tent (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16), we will not use any form of legalism. It will have no place in this project.
Under the Law?
As we build, we will categorically refuse to have anything to do with putting people “under the Law” (Romans 2: 12).
But . . . on the other hand, we do not want to subject anyone to a bad translation of Scripture.
And, we question whether most people understand what Paul actually meant when he spoke of people being “under the law.” Paul said, “To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law” (1 Corinthians 9:20).
Was Paul saying he was a two-faced chameleon who felt the end justified the means? Or, is Paul’s statement better translated in David Stern’s Jewish New Testament?
With Jews, what I did was put myself in the position of a Jew, in order to win Jews. With people in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah, I put myself in the position of someone under such legalism, in order to win those under this legalism, even though I myself am not in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah.
Paul is explaining that, when he encountered a Jew who was in bondage to legalism, he empathized with him. He identified with him. He tried to speak his language. But . . . Paul himself was not in such bondage.
Instead, Paul explains what he does identify with:
He says, “With those who live outside the framework of Torah, I put myself in the position of someone outside the Torah in order to win those outside the Torah – although I myself am not outside the framework of God’s Torah but within framework of Torah as upheld by the Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 9:21 JNT)
Messiah’s Torah Framework
The “framework” upon which Messiah hung the Torah is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
“Love” is the framework upon which all Torah instruction must hang. For if we “know all mysteries and all knowledge,” but “do not have love,” we are “nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
All Torah teaching must first be based on a true love of God and neighbor (Leviticus 19:18).
But even that is not enough. . . .
Teachers of Torah must always point to and lift up Messiah Yeshua. For, all things are being “summed up” in Him. He “fills all,” is “in all,” and must always be our focus (Ephesians 1:10-11, 23; John 12:32).
Moreover, “if we are led by the Spirit, we will not be under the [perverted system that distorts the truth of the) Law.” (Galatians 5:18) Further, we will not subject ourselves, nor allow others to subject us to, the perversion of legalism. We will not submit to it for a minute (Galatians 2:5).
But on the other hand . . . It is not wise to throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water – which is what Ephraim has done in the past.
The perfectly good “baby” we have thrown out is called “Wisdom.” For our Father says of His Torah Instructions: “Keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding.” (Deuteronomy 4:6)
Wisdom is translated from the Hebrew word chokmah (khok-maw). It speaks of good sense, of being skillful, of acting wisely.
Surely we do not want to throw out good sense. And so in our restoration process we will honor good sense by looking to the Torah for answers (2 Timothy 3:16). However . . . we also must have the good sense to know that we cannot boast about being a “Torah keeper.” For, it is impossible for anyone to truly “keep” Torah because its sacrificial system has been abolished. We cannot keep all of Torah. Because, to “keep” Torah, we must keep all of Torah (Romans 2:25; Galatians 5:3; Jeremiah 9:25).
So, boasting about observing Torah principles is not something we can use in this rebuilding program.
Besides, we should have the “good sense” to realize that if our Father laid down certain laws, and then it became literally impossible for us to keep those laws (i.e., Deuteronomy 16:2; Exodus 30:19-20), then we can only conclude one of two things: Either He is impotent and asleep at the switch, or, He is trying to send us a message.
The answer is the latter, and the message is, by the power of His Ruach HaKodesh He will write His New Covenant Torah on the tablets of our formerly stony hearts. Thus, the work is done by the Holy Spirit – not by boasting about our keeping Torah (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:10, 10:16).
Returning to our question, “How does the Father want Israel to walk?” it appears the supposed “answers” are primarily divided into two camps:
“Law” that leads to “legalism”
“Grace” that leads to “licentiousness”
Legalism versus licentiousness. Self-righteousness versus self-indulgence. Both are excesses. Both lead to a pit. So, what is the answer?
To begin, we try to define “Law and Grace.” And, grace is simply, unmerited favor. However, the Hebrew word Torah – usually translated law – means a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch, and it comes from yarah, a root word meaning, to flow as water (i.e. to rain); to throw, especially an arrow (see 2 Chronicles 26: 15), to shoot; to point out, to teach, to direct, inform, instruct, show, teach.
However, the English word law primarily means, “a rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority . . . rules and principles governing the affairs of a community . . . a legal system . . . justice . . . legislation; legal action, proceedings, litigation . . . absolute authority. . . .” (The American Heritage Dictionary).
What we miss through our use of the word law is the Hebrew root of Torah, meaning the emphasis of, to flow as water, to be like an arrow, to point out, to direct, to inform, instruct, to show, to teach.
Yahveh says of His Instructions: “Keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” And, “You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land.” (Deuteronomy 4:6; 11:8)
If with a right heart attitude, we seek to walk in these commands, then, we will be made strong – courageous, able to conquer, of good courage, mighty, able to prevail, to behave valiantly.
However, if we are legalistic and self-righteous about our being so “mature” that we are now “keeping” Torah, we will be used by the evil one to blind others to the strength and wisdom that flows forth from Torah. We will cause our Father’s people to miss the benefit of truths that teach His finer ways – truths that help them flow in the right direction, and to overcome life’s adversities.
Thus, in our studies we will seek to destroy every destructive implement of the evil one that we can find. And, we will seek to build up by using every wise Torah tool available to us.\
Laying Down the Law of Grace
Concerning “Grace only” teachings, we find that, if we lay down a “law” that “gives the answer,” then we have created yet another “law.” This is so even if we say there is “no law, but only grace.” For then, “grace only” becomes our “law.”
While we are saved only by “grace” (Ephesians 2:8), still, the fact remains that our Messiah has eternal laws (John 12:48-50). Moreover, it also is a fact that He shows mercy to lawbreakers.
Law and Grace. Both are true. Both are depicted in their true harmony in the life of Messiah Yeshua. For, He kept all the Father’s law, and yet was and still is, the personification of Grace.
Does grace have to necessarily do away with Torah? Can we not use the truths of both law and grace to rebuild David’s fallen booth?
Yes, we can and we will. However, to settle this ancient dispute, we must realize that, it is not really an argument about law “versus” grace. Instead, it is an issue of the “attitudes” of the proponents of either side. For, transgression first proceeds from the heart: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false Witness, slanders.” (Matthew 15:19)
Thus Hebrews 4:12 explains, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Our Father’s Word is an ever-acting critic of the thought-life, motivations, and purposes of our human hearts. It reveals the hidden things. Thus, “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4: 13)
This is true even if we are ignorant of the Father’s teachings. For, “The requirements of the law are written in our hearts, our consciences also bearing witness, and our thoughts now accusing, now even defending us.” (Romans 2: 15)
The Ruach HaKodesh is always at work in us, either bearing witness in our hearts that what we are thinking or doing is correct, or attempting to convict us of our error.
Thus, the argument is not one of “law versus grace.” Instead, heart attitude is the issue. And, the “heart” of the New Covenant promised to Israel is that, Yahveh will put His “laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.”
Our Father promised to “make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not like the covenant . . . made with their fathers . . . which they broke.” Instead, He says, He will make a new covenant only with “the house of Israel.” Of it, He says, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
Our Father found “fault” with both houses: Israel (Ephraim) and Judah (Hebrews 8:8-10). And, when they fully enter into His new covenant, they are “Israel.” He no longer accepts their divided state. Instead, He makes a new covenant only with a reunited “Israel.” (Ephesians 2: 14)
Further, this covenant will not be totally fulfilled until the millennial age – for, at that time, “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:11)
Until that time, the Father is still attempting to write His Torah truths on the hard hearts of His scattered Israelite children.
Accepting the Yoke of the Holy One
In the past, Ephraim had a bad attitude toward Torah, and, the Father said of him, “Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law, they are regarded as a strange thing.” (Hosea 8:12) And, “Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, but I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim.” (Hosea 10:1 1)
So, He sent Messiah, and He told us to, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Once the veil is lifted from Ephraim‘s heretofore blinded eyes, once he is properly “instructed” (Jeremiah 31:18), then in Messiah Yeshua, Ephraim will accept the “yoke” of a Torah that is based on love. For, Messiah’s Torah yoke is a gentle yoke that brings rest to the weary soul.
Thus, in our rebuilding program we will not use tools of pagan trade, nor build with “traditions of men,” be they from Rome or Babylon. Instead, we will seek to destroy all deviant teachings – Christian and/or Jewish (Isaiah 27:9).
With our Torah study we issue a call to all Israel to, “Come up higher.” For, if we will respond to this call and begin to build in true righteousness, we will soon see David’s glorious, fully restored tent!
So . . . Let the building program begin!
 See Batya Ruth Wootten, “Forsaking Our First Love,” “Is the ‘Greek’ New Covenant Inspired? Is Yeshua Divine,” and “The I Am, His Son, and The ‘Trinity,’” House of David Herald 8-10 (October 1996), 8-6 (June 1996), and 8-7 (July 1996).
 See Batya Ruth Wootten, “Good Laws – Bad Attitudes,” “Torah and The Two Witnesses,” and, Yahveh’s Calendar versus Compromise With Babylon and Rome,” House of David Herald 6-10 (October 1994), 6-11 (November 1994), and 6-8 (August 1994).
 Batya Ruth Wootten, “From Orphans to Heirs,” House of David Herald 9-12 (December 1997).
 For celebration suggestions see Batya Ruth Wootten, “Celebrating Passover As Never Before!” “Shavuot and Two Leavened Loaves,” “Yahveh‘s Calendar versus Compromise with Babylon and Rome,” “Restoring The Fallen Booth of David: A Tabernacles Celebration,” House of David Herald 9-3 (March 1997), 9-5 (May 1997), 6-10 (October 1994), 5-9 (September 1993); and Angus and Batya Wootten, “The Way of the Gentiles,” House of David Herald 5-12 (December 1993).