[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: The people of God have struggled through an identity question for millennia. It comes down to this: if God has designated Israel as His only covenant nation, and only those who are part of Israel can partake of all His promises, then who is Israel, and how does anyone get to be part of it? The proposed answers are many, and often seem to be mutually exclusive. Is Israel only the Jewish people? Is it only the church, which is now “spiritual Israel,” or “the Israel of God?” Is it only people from the British Isles, or from Africa, or some other ethnic grouping? Or is it perhaps something else – something more inclusive that incorporates all who call upon the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13), somehow embracing both physical descendants of Abraham and foreigners whom God has “grafted in?”
In 1994, Angus Wootten proposed an answer based not only on his understanding of scripture and history, but his faith in a covenant-keeping God to come through on His promises. More than a synthesis of various positions, Angus crafted a balanced, logical approach that indicates how much we all have in common as part of God’s family, regardless how we got in. This article was originally published in the August 1994 edition of the House of David Herald.]
Our Heavenly Father had the Prophets Amos and Hosea deliver a message to the Northern Kingdom of Israel: “Behold . . . 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). And ultimately, He said, “Israel is swallowed up; they are now among the nations like a vessel in which no one delights” (Hosea 8:8).
Even earlier the Psalmist had warned: “They did not listen to the voice of Yahveh . . . Therefore He swore to them, that He would cast them down in the wilderness, and that He would cast their seed among the nations, and scatter them in the lands . . . [For] they did not destroy the peoples, as Yahveh commanded them, but they mingled with the nations, and learned their practices” (Psalms 106:25-27; 34-35).
Knowing that we can only please Yahveh by faith (Hebrews 1 12:6), we have no alternative but to accept that the foregoing prophesies have been fulfilled, and that the following promises are either now being fulfilled, or at some future date will be fulfilled: For He says the scattered peoples will cry out: “Save us, O Yahveh our God, and gather us, from among the nations, to give thanks to Thy Holy Name, and glory in Thy praise” (Psalms 106:47).
The Psalmist also gives the reason why Yahveh answers this prayer: “For He remembered His holy Word with Abraham His servant; and He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. He gave them also the lands of the nations, that they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor, so that they might keep His statutes, and observe His laws” (Psalms 105:42-45).
Even though we are required to exercise our faith, we can contemplate on how Yahveh did, and will, fill the many prophesies about the scattering and regathering of the people of Israel. And, in regard to their regathering, we can attempt to ascertain whether we might have a role to play. So let us start our investigation from the most advantageous position possible: that of a graduate student of the House of David. A graduate student is one who has read In Search of Israel, The Olive Tree of Israel, and issues of the Herald, and fully understands the basic teaching of House of David: That there were in Scripture, and still are two houses of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, and that it is Yahveh’s plan for them to be reunited into one house, which becomes the restored kingdom of Israel.
We are starting from the vantage point of understanding that Israel today is separated into two houses, of which many are still scattered among the nations. Today, those of the house of Judah are primarily scattered among the Jewish people, while those of the house of Ephraim are primarily scattered among the Christian people. As we well know, the initial division between Ephraim and Judah took place in 930 BC, when the united Davidic kingdom was divided into the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel, or Israel and Judah. Over the next two centuries, the Northern Kingdom was slowly absorbed into the surrounding nations, including Judah.
For example, during the reign of Baasha, 908-886 BC, Ben-hadad, King of Assyria, sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali (2 Chronicles 16:4). During the same period King Asa of Judah had many from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon defect to him from Israel (2 Chronicles 15:9).
It was some one hundred and sixty years later that the end came with the Assyrian conquest of the city of Samaria in 722 BC, alter a three year siege. It was at this time that the famous exile of 27,290 inhabitants of the city, taken as booty, were carried away into exile by Assyria, and settled in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes (2 Kings 17:6). While this one exile most often forms the basis for most works that seek to explain the wanderings of the “Ten Lost Tribes,” it was by no means their only exile, and, it was neither total, nor was it final, and it surely does not constitute the entire remnant of the Northern Kingdom.
The Assyrian policy at that time was first to absorb areas and populations into the empire in place, and next to establish vassal states. When the first two policies did not work, they would take military and political control of the area, effectively neutralizing the population by deporting a portion of the people: which basically included the leadership, soldiers, and all those capable of being a threat to Assyrian control. These exiles were replaced by the importation of foreign colonists, those who were exiled from their own lands. And then, as today, there was a continual voluntary movement of people for economic reasons.
Hezekiah, King of Judah 7l5-686 BC, reinforces the fact that the deportation of the Northern Kingdom was not total. As a young man, Hezekiah had observed the gradual disintegration and capitulation of the Northern Kingdom as the Assyrians advanced southward. He realized that Israel had been taken captive because of her disobedience to Yahveh’s laws. Therefore, Hezekiah was concerned that his people renew the covenant they had broken. And also, attempting to heal the breach that had separated Judah and Israel since Solomonic times, he sent letters throughout the land inviting the people to come to Jerusalem for the Passover. Although some ignored Hezekiah’s appeal, many responded, coming from Asher, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Issachar, as well as from Judah.
So, the population of the area which comprised the former kingdom of Israel consisted of many elements: remnants of the peoples which the Israelites had failed to destroy when they took the land, remnants of the Israelites, Assyrians residing in the land, foreign colonists imported by the Assyrians, and those who had moved into the area for economic reasons.
Then, in 586 BC, we have a virtual replay of the fall of Israel, with Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Judah, along with several deportations of portions of the population of Judah to Babylon. Then, seventy years later, in 535 BC some of the descendants of those deported to Babylon began to return to Jerusalem. Next we see the temple being rebuilt and the reestablishment of Judah as a recognizable people who became known as “Jews.”
Over the next five centuries, the only visible Israelites, and the only known worshipers of Yahveh, were known as “Jews.” So anyone, in the then land of Israel — Judea, Samaria, Galilee — or throughout the world who was called to be a worshiper of Yahveh, became known as a “Jew” — regardless of their tribal heritage. Thus, James addresses his letter to, “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad” (James 1:1). Furthermore, the post exilic prophets, in particular Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah, treated the tribes of the vanquished northern kingdom — regardess of where they were — as integral parts of the covenant people of Israel.
The description of Ezekiel’s two sticks, which represented Ephraim and Judah, indicates that each stick contained elements of all twelve tribes (Ezekiel 37:15-19). This was obviously true in Ezekiel’s day, and will be true in that day, which is yet future, when the two sticks are made one in Yahveh’s hand.
There are two key facts that must be kept in mind when attempting to track the people of Israel: One is the fact that the bloodline comes from the father. Secondly, one’s biology does not change, regardless of where the people were, or presently are, located. Also, what one believes or does not believe cannot change one’s genealogy. An Israelite forever remains an Israelite. Though an Israelite may be “lost” to the world, and even lost to themselves, an Israelite is never lost to Yahveh’s all-seeing eyes (Amos 9:9).
So, by 30 AD, when the ministry of Yeshua served to once again divide the people of Israel, only Yahveh Himself knew the genealogy of the seven million Jews that were in Judah, Samaria, Galilee, and scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Again, we know from James that all twelve tribes were represented in this number. We also know that a major portion of the Jewish people did not follow after Yeshua. And, after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, and the loss of a sacrifice and a priesthood, they established what we know today as Rabbinic Judaism. However, one important portion our Jewish brothers retained was the title of, “Jew,” which to many people, has become synonymous with “Israel.”
On the other hand, a significant portion of the Jewish people did follow after Yeshua. In fact, history tells us that for the first thirty years the Early Church was virtually all “Jewish.” However, the influx of “Yahveh fearing Gentiles” had given the Church a non-Jewish majority by the end of the ﬁrst century.
The first thing to realize is that the Jewish people who followed Yeshua did not have a change in their genealogy. They were still Israelites, and their descendants, even to this day, are still Israelites, whether or not they care to call themselves Israelites, and whether they know it or not.
What was the tribal make-up of these two First Century groups? Realizing that only Yahveh can definitively answer this question, we are limited to reasonable assumptions and educated guesses. So, would it not be reasonable to assume that the initial tribal composition of the two groups would roughly parallel their tribal composition today? If this is true, then we have only to determine the current tribal composition to answer this question. Today, most Christians deny that they are physical Israelites from any tribe. This would pretty well rule out that they are from Judah, Benjamin or Levi, because descendants of these tribes did not receive the punishment of being lost to their identity. On the other hand, based on limited survey data, Jewish people claim heritage from the tribes of either Judah, Levi or Benjamin. Therefore, it would be reasonable to conclude that a majority of the first century Jews who followed Yeshua had a Northern Kingdom tribal heritage, while a majority of those Jews who followed after Rabbinic Judaism had a Southern Kingdom tribal heritage.
As for the “Yahveh fearing Gentiles” we ask: who were they, and where did they come from? Paul answers the question of who they were, by stating who they are: “And if you belong to Yeshua, then you are Abraham’s offspring [seed, sperm], heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).
Another statement by Paul that should also be considered is, “‘you’ who were formerly Gentiles in the flesh” (Ephesians 2:1 1). The implication clearly is that “you” are no longer Gentiles in the flesh. Thus, if “you” are not now a Gentile in the flesh, then “you” must be the only alternative: an Israelite in the flesh. Was the flesh of the “you” miraculously changed from Gentile to Israelite? Or, does Paul mean: Now that you have accepted Yeshua and understand that “you” are a member of the Commonwealth of Israel, “you” should realize that “you” have always been an Israelite? Peter was quite correct when he states that Paul is difficult to understand (2 Peter 3: 16). So for now, take your pick, and reserve a more definitive answer for the day when you can talk with Paul—in the Kingdom.
Where did these “Gentiles” come from? The reasonable conclusion is that they are from that seed that was scattered throughout every nation on earth. Yair Davidiy’s book, The Tribes, is a reasonable, historical account of how much of the seed of Israel was scattered.
Why is this heritage important? If we do not know who we are, it is impossible to fully understand our mission, and it is difficult to determine how we should live. When we understand that we are an Israelite, and that our job is to prepare for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, and that as Israelites, we should live in the manner of Israelites, and not in the manner of Gentiles, then, we will surely be more pleasing to our Creator than those who continue to walk in ignorance—which ignorance Yahveh ordained as punishment for our forefathers, but is being removed in our day.
As a follower of Yahveh you are required to see yourself as an Israelite. And that means you must belong to one of the following categories.
Which box would you check?
[ ] I am a descendant of one the First Century “Jewish” Believers
[ ] I am a descendant of one the scattered tribes.
[ ] I am a descendant of one of the First Century Rabbinical “Jews.”
[ ] I am one of John the Baptists’ stones — whom Yahveh miraculously turned into a child of Abraham (Matthew 3:9).
[Editor’s note: Scripture explains that the Almighty’s judgment of ancient Israel came after considerable warning. Here is one example:
“Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” (2 Kings 17:13 NASB)
To this day, the Lord continues to exhort His people to return to Him and obey His commandments.
Angus Wootten took that exhortation to heart. He was among the pioneers of today’s elders in the faith who call for the people of God to learn the entire Word of God (Genesis to Revelation) and live by it daily. That is the point in this article he published in the May 1993 edition of the House of David Herald.]
The question that is ever before us is: “How do we walk in a manner that will please our God?” This question becomes even more significant for those who have seen their Ephraimite heritage. For them, the question focuses on how do we, as Ephraimites, walk in a manner that gives the Holy One of Israel pleasure?
On the surface, the answer to the last question appears relatively simple: We walk under the leadership of the Spirit, following in the footsteps of Messiah. For He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). By walking as Messiah walked, Ephraim will establish the oneness with God that Yeshua prayed for: “That they may all be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:21).
To be acceptable to God, and to determine His will and direction for our lives, we must hear His voice (Romans 12:1-2). Furthermore, each one of us must learn to hear God’s voice for ourselves – without a man in the middle: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, Messiah Yeshua” (1 Timothy 3:5). This means we need to restore the relationship Adam had with God, while in the garden.
From the very beginning God has been speaking to man, and man has heard His voice. Throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God made His voice known to His people – to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, etc. In the books of the Prophets, we see this phrase repeated time after time: “And God said. . .” God’s voice was heard, known and understood.
Yeshua confirmed this concept in the New Covenant, using the example of the Good Shepherd:
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out, When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but they will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:3-5).
Sheep know the voice of their shepherd.
While the answers to the “how do we please God” question may seem simple, hearing from God and making a Spirit-led way of life an integral part of our life is anything but simple. In fact, it seems almost unobtainable in this world – for, many voices clamor for our attention. When we seek to hear and know God’s voice, it is absolutely imperative that we are able to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our own flesh, and from the voices of other men. We must be sure it is the Spirit of God speaking, and not the voice of a tempting spirit. For our adversary, the devil, is prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
However, we can and should take solace, and assurance, in knowing that we can walk as Yeshua walked. Because, Yeshua would not have prayed that we attain to a relationship that is unattainable; and, John would not have instructed us to walk as Yeshua walked, if it were impossible for us to do so (1 John 2:6). Yet, even knowing all this, we, like Paul, must question whether we are running this race of life in a manner that will reap an imperishable reward (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Revelation 22:12).
To successfully run that race, we must know and hear God’s voice. And, Yeshua’s discourse with Pilate gives us the key to success: When being questioned by Pilate, Yeshua answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate then asked Him, “What is truth”‘ (John 18:36-37)?
Knowing, or having, the truth insures that one is hearing God’s voice. Therefore, we likewise need an answer to Pilate’s question: “What is truth?” The answer will put us well on the way to running a successful race. It will help us know which way, and how, to run, to win the prize of imperishable life.
Webster defines truth as: “Being in conformity with the facts or with reality, and in agreement with a correct and accurate standard or rule.” More importantly, Scripture defines truth as the “Word of God!” It further states that, “the Word is God, and the Word, as Yeshua, became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1; 1:14).
Yeshua, when He was praying in the garden, asked the Father to, “Sanctify them in truth.” He also said, “Thy Word is truth.” (John 17:17). In other words, “Sanctify them with Thy Word which is truth.” The “them” in this prayer is “us.” Even though Yeshua was talking about His initial band of disciples, He expanded His prayer to include all who will believe in Him through their word.
So our answer to “What is truth?” is: Being sanctified in the truth by our relationship with The Truth, who is Yeshua. We simply appropriate the facts and reality of the Word of God, and make it our foundation. Then, we can rely upon the Spirit of God to guide us in the way in which we should walk. For the Word of God will give us a correct and accurate standard to know when we are hearing from God, and when we are not hearing from God.
No Ifs, Ands, Or Buts! We Need To Know The Word Of God!
We can see that the answer to our question is simple, but here is the rub: We need to know the Word of God! No ifs, ands, or buts! We need to know the Word of God!
We cannot build upon something we do not know. We make it very difficult for the Spirit of God to guide us by recalling to our mind a Word which is not part of us. Also, if we do not know the Word we do not have an accurate standard to guard against deception and false teaching.
Unfortunately Hosea’s prophecy, to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim), still rings true in our day:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because ,you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest, Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6).
We are the children of those to whom Hosea prophesied. We too have rejected knowledge, and followed in the sinful footsteps of Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom. Jeroboam craftily introduced an idolatrous religious system into his kingdom, and it hinders Ephraimites to this day. As Brian Hennessy pointed out in his article in last month’s Herald, It’s Time To Bury Jeroboam: “We are guilty of the same sin in that we continually put our religion, or the traditions and practices of Westernized Christianity, before Yeshua’s truth.”
We are guilty of walking in the sins of Jeroboam insofar as we choose to be obedient to the dictates of man, and the man-made traditions of Christianity, over the voice of Messiah – as expressed in Scripture. Each of us is responsible to establish and nurture a direct relationship with the Lord. Quite naturally, there are people, organizations, books, tapes, videos, etc., that can help us build and nurture that relationship. However, there also are people, organizations, books, tapes, videos, etc. that can hinder us. They can even destroy us. The recent disaster in Waco, Texas is a dramatic example of how a false prophet and deceptive doctrine can destroy a flock of ignorant sheep. Unfortunately, false prophets and deceptive doctrines are not always so obvious.
We each have the personal responsibility to know the truth. Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of the truth is no excuse. Further, refusing to receive the truth is an intentional sin! Paul makes this fact abundantly clear in his letter to the Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20).
We will not be able to plead ignorance or offer any excuses on the day when the righteous judgment of God renders to every man according to his deeds (Romans 2:5-6). Thus, it behooves us to follow the advice Paul gave Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth, From childhood you [Timothy] have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua, For all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate. equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17).
We Have Fallen Short Of Having The Knowledge Of Scripture We Are Capable Of Having
It is fair to say, “We have fallen short in our knowledge of Scripture.” We all need to know more of it; especially in the difficult times of these last days (2 Timothy 3:1). What do we do to remedy our lack of Scriptural knowledge? We must take advantage of the promise that Yeshua made: “That He would put His instructions into our mind and write them on our heart” (Hebrews 8:10). How will He do it? He will not wave a magic wand over us, thus enlightening our minds. He will not give us a Scripture “knowledge pill.” Rather, the Word will be written on our hearts when, we read the word, we listen to the word, we watch the word, we meditate on the word, and we discuss the word.
The first Psalm, together with the first few chapters of Proverbs, give excellent guidance on some of the things we can do to become a workman able to accurately handle the word of truth. At the very least, when we stand before our Maker, who is the Author of our operating manual, we should be able to say: “Lord, I read Your Book.” Reading a Chapter of Scripture daily, which would take five to ten minutes, allows one to read the entire Bible in a little over three years. Two chapters a day cuts the time in half, and three chapters – twenty to thirty minutes daily – takes one through the Bible in a year. And/or you can listen to the Bible on cassette in about sixty hours.
The Truth Shall Make You Free
“If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).
Let us not harden our hearts, as our forefathers did when they followed after Jeroboam’s idolatrous religious system. Thus compiling for themselves a record of three hundred and ninety years of iniquity (Hebrews 3:7-8; 4-2; Ezekiel 4:5). For, their iniquity resulted in Ephraim/Israel receiving a national punishment of being swallowed up among the nations. They became a people who were no longer the people of God.
The Lord said they would remain in this state for many days (years), However, He also said, in the last days, the sons of Ephraim/Israel will come trembling from the west, and they will seek the Lord their God and David their King (Hosea 1:9; 2:23; 3;4,5; 8:8; 11:10; Amos 9:9). For, the Lord promised: “Yet the number of the sons of Israel/Ephraim will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; And it will come about that, in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’ And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel” (Hosea 1:10-11).
We are the “sons of the living God.” These are the “last days.” And, we have an obligation to become a people who know the Word of Truth. We must know how to hear from our Father! We cannot continue walking in the footsteps of Jeroboam. We must walk as Messiah walked.
The workman that we will be tomorrow, depends on what we do today. Starting today, which is the first day of the rest of our lives, we can rearrange our priorities, to allow us more time, opportunity, and resources to increase our knowledge of the truth, and our ability to hear from God. We are the generation that is being offered the opportunity to be used by God to recover the house of Ephraim – to unite with the house of Judah – and thus to restore the kingdom to Israel.
No ifs, ands, or buts! No excuses! No pleas of ignorance! Those who would take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity, and walk this exciting walk with God must know the Word of God!
Counting the Omer is keeping the commandment to count 50 days (seven Sabbaths plus one day) between the offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest (often called First Fruits) until the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:15-21). This year The Barking Fox is counting the omer with modern pictures of places named in the Bible.