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.

Ephraim Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man! by Angus Wootten

via Ephraim Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man! – B’ney Yosef North America 

[Editor’s note: Here’s a provocative thought –

In the first century, Judaism, with its temple, priesthood, and sacrificial system, divided into two major branches: Christianity, with its sacrifice and grace, and Rabbinical Judaism, with its Law, feasts and traditions.

Angus Wootten wrote that in April 1996 as he shared his understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom. His statement comes in the context of relating the two aspects of redemption: personal/individual, and corporate/national.  How do Jews and Christians fit in this context? How do they, or should they, relate to one another? As Angus explains, the answers come in realizing our shared identity in the covenant Kingdom of Israel.]


Ephraim Free At Last! One Again A Mighty Man!

By Angus Wootten – April 1996

When will the Kingdom of Israel be restored to the people of Israel?

What part might we play in this restoration process?

These questions have perplexed Believers, and pleaded for an answer since they were first asked of Yeshua some two thousand years ago.

Why?

Because Yeshua”s response to their question included a mystery Yeshua told His disciples that the Father knows the moment, hour, and day when Yeshua is going to restore the Kingdom to Israel. He also said that it was not for them to know this predestined time. Rather. it was their job to be His witnesses. Both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria. and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts l:8).

Fortunately, today it is possible to have greater insight into the answers to these critical questions.[1]

However. our first step in unraveling this “time for the Kingdom” mystery. and in understanding our own personal part in the restoration process, requires that we first fully understand who we are in relationship to Yeshua. and to the historical people and nation of Israel.

Each one of us sees ourselves as having been “born again” into Yahveh’s family. But, what is our link to the forefathers of Israel? How are we connected with those who stood in the very presence of Yahveh at the foot of Mount Sinai? (Exodus 19: l6-20). What gives us the credibility to be counted by the Holy One of Israel among the people of Israel? Also, what unites us with Messiah‘s original group of disciples, or, as David Stern refers to them in his Jewish New Testament, to His ‘emissaries”? Just what is our relationship with those chosen few who spent three and a half years in intimate fellowship with the God of Israel when He walked in the form of a man on this earth?

Answers to these questions are found in the Words of the Prophet like unto Moses, and in the Words of that Prophet’s original emissaries.

Moses Choosing the Seventy Elders, Jacob de Wit, 1736-37, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

In Torah, Moses declared to the chosen people of Israel that, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him . . . and I will put My Words in his mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command him. And it shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words. which He shall speak in My name. I Myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-22)

Who is this Prophet through whom the Holy One of Israel promised to speak?

It is none other than Yeshua

Yeshua was fulfilling this prophecy given to Moses when He said to the Father, “The Words which Thou gavest Me l have given to them [His original band of emissaries]; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me. . . I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. . . I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those [Believers down through the ages] who also believe in Me through their Word” (John 17:8-20).

Our concern is that we listen to the Words the Father gave Yeshua, which Words He in turn gave to his emissaries. For, those who do not receive these Words, of them the Father Himself will “require it.” The Hebrew word darash[2], which is here translated require,[3] can be best understood in the context of this passage to mean that, Yahveh will require an accounting of each one of us as to how we shama[4] meaning listen, or harken, to these Words.

From this we conclude that the answer to our “Who are we?” question is: “We are included among those in this generation who are following in the footsteps of the original emissaries, by believing in their Words which were given them by Yeshua.[5]

Having made the point that we are required to listen, or harken, to the Words that Yeshua gave to His emissaries, which Words they in turn have given to us, the next question to answer is: To what Words are we to listen or harken? And, what is it that the original emissaries believed that we are required to believe?

Using Abraham as an example, we ask: What Words did the Father require that Abraham believe? He reckoned Abraham’s belief in His Word – “That his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven” – as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Therefore, if we have the faith of Abraham, then we will believe what Abraham believed.[6] Likewise, if we are to believe what the original emissaries believed, we must believe what Yeshua told them: That our ultimate mission is the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.

Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel

The Apostle Luke described a time when Yeshua was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” And Yeshua taught them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come . . . on earth as it is in heaven’” (Luke 11:1-4). What is Yeshua telling both His disciples, and us, to pray for? Is He telling them/us to pray that we go to heaven? No, He is instructing them/us to pray that His kingdom come here on the earth!

Some five centuries of silence followed the declaration, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5) Then the event that heralded the New Covenant occurred: Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel – for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant.” (Luke 1:67)

Fulfilling Zacharias’ prophecy, the angel Gabriel visited Mary. He told her about Yeshua, the Son whom she would bear for Yahveh: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and Yahveh will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32)

Yeshua told us to pray that His Kingdom would come here on the earth. And Gabriel explained that Yeshua’s Kingdom is the Kingdom of Jacob/Israel, and that Yeshua would rule over the house of Jacob/Israel forever.

Further, Yeshua said of Himself, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) And, in John 10:7, “My sheep know My voice and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Meditate for a moment on this testimony: “My sheep know My voice and I know them, and they follow Me.” This assertion by Yeshua has not applied to great numbers of people over the past two thousand years, and it does not apply to very many people on the face of this earth today. But it does apply to those who are following in the steps of Yeshua’s emissaries—they being Those to whom He gave His kingdom.

Yeshua said to His emissaries, “I confer on you a Kingdom just as My Father conferred one on Me.” (Luke 22:29) He also said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) And, “Truly I say to you. That you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28)

We see that Yeshua gave His Kingdom to His emissaries—the very Kingdom which was given to Him by the Father to rule over forever—the House of Jacob/Israel.

Yeshua said, when He was 12 years old, “I must be about My Father’s business.” What was His Father’s business? Yeshua explains this later, when He sent out His emissaries, telling them to, “Preach the Kingdom.” And, He instructed them not to preach this message in the way of (manner of, or like) the Gentiles. And, He gave them the job of taking this message of the Kingdom to the lost sheep of the house of Israel – a job that remains unfinished to this day (Matthew 10:5-7; 10:23, Luke 9: 1-6; John 4:7-42).[7]

What did the emissaries (in whose footsteps we are to follow) understand to be Yahveh’s goal and plan concerning them and all Israel?

We begin to see the answer in Luke’s description of Yeshua’s entrance into Jerusalem, just days before His death: “As He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road. And as He was approaching the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise Yahveh joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the Name of Yahveh.’” (Luke 19:36-38)

It was “Kingship” that gave the ruling Pharisees a problem with Yeshua. They feared that the people would crown Yeshua – make Him a King – which would cause war with Rome, and would result in the loss of the temple, and what little authority they did have.

The expectation of virtually all first century Jews was that when the Messiah came, He would deliver Israel from Roman oppression and become King over an Israel that was united, even as it was under Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. This is why the people who recognized Yeshua as the King of Israel were expecting Him to immediately restore the Kingdom to Israel.

Yeshua’s Prayer For Us

The Seventeenth Chapter of John contains the prayer of Yeshua before He went to the cross. Yeshua said, at the start of His ministry, “I must be about My Father”s business.” In John 17:4, He said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.” And in the next four verses, He describes the work He was given to do: manifested Thy name to the men Thou gavest Me out of the world. Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me and they have kept Thy Word. Now, they have come to know that everything which Thou gavest Me is for them. For the Words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them and they received them [understood them]. And they truly understood that l came from Thee and they believe that Thou didst send Me.”

As Yeshua continued His Gethsemane prayer, He said. “I ask on their behalf – I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou gave me, for they are Thine. I have given them Thy Word: and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. . . As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. . . I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their Word.” (John 17:14-20)

It is of prime importance that we see that Yeshua prayed not only for His original emissaries, but also for all those emissaries in future generations who would believe in the Words given the original emissaries – which Words they recorded for our benefit.

How Do We Fit Into The Divine Design?

This is where and how we fit into the Divine design. This is how we automatically come under the mantle of prayer and purpose that Yeshua placed over His original emissaries.

Yeshua, having made it evident that His emissaries understood the Word of the Father that He had given them, next went to the cross. Afterwards, one of the first events that took place happened when Yeshua came alongside two of His emissaries, who were on the road to Emmaus. But, they did not recognize Him. As they walked together and talked about Yeshua and His death, one of the emissaries said, “We thought that He was going to restore the Kingdom to Israel.” (Luke 24:21)

Where did they get that idea?

They got it from the fact that all Israel was looking forward to the end of pagan oppression, and to establishment of the Kingdom of Israel. And, because Yeshua repeatedly spoke of the Kingdom.

After His resurrection, Yeshua presented Himself alive to His emissaries, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the Kingdom (Acts 1:2). Then came the time for His departure.

“Lord, Is Now The Time That You Are Going To Restore The Kingdom To Israel?”

His emissaries were gathered together with Him on the Mount of Olives. They undoubtedly sensed that they were about to witness a momentous event. And, standing there with the One whom they had for years followed, they had one last question for Him: “Lord, is now the time that You are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 6)

While we may speculate on the reason for, and the timing of this question, there is no speculation about Yeshua’s answer. Because He said: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons that the Father has already established. (Acts 1:7)

Almost 2,000 years ago, on the Mount of Olives, Yeshua told His emissaries that, the Father already knows the moment, hour, and day, when Yahveh is going to have Yeshua return and restore the Kingdom to Israel. However, it was not for them to know this predestined time.

Why?

Had they known that it was some 2,000 years in the future, surely it would have taken away a good bit of their resolve and zeal. After all, how would you feel if you knew today, that the return of Messiah was still some two thousand years in the future?

Yeshua’s answer to them also included the command that His emissaries would be witnesses (the actual word is martyrs). Where? In Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and to the remotest corners of the earth.

(It appears that in this day, the Church has forgotten everything but the remotest corners of the earth. As for Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, the United Nations, the United States, the Roman Catholic church, and the World Council of Churches are doing everything they can to take away this area of the promised Kingdom of Israel and to give it to the Palestinians. But, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel did not give this area to Ishmael and his descendants, nor to Esau and his descendants. Rather, by an oath which He swore on His own Name, He gave Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria to the descendants of Israel for an everlasting possession! [Hebrews 6: 13-17].)

Requirements For The Return

After revealing that the time of the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom was to be an unknown factor, Yeshua was lifted up into the heavens. And, the angels, who also were present, asked of His emissaries, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This Yeshua, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

Other Scriptures tell us that the fulfillment of this angelic prophecy requires a united people, a people standing on the Mount of Olives, saying, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Yahveh.” (Ezekiel 37:1; 15-28; Luke 13:35; Romans 11)

When Will The Kingdom Be Restored To Israel?

How close are we to that glorious day when that united group will witness Yeshua, once again standing on the Mount of Olives? Do we sense that the Messiah could come in our lifetime – in our generation? Earlier in this century, the theme song of the Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Fundamentalists was that by the year 2000, Yeshua would have returned. However, as we get closer to the end of the second millennium since Yeshua’s departure, a lot of people seem to be backing away from that expectation.

And yet, though hindsight is a lot more accurate than foresight, it is possible to obtain foresight from Scripture, especially with the leading of the Holy Spirit. So let us now ask the Spirit to guide us, as we seek to better understand the time of Yeshua’s return.

It is difficult to interpret the many numbers that are given in the Scriptures. For example, Daniel mentions the 1,235 days, 62 weeks, and 7 weeks. And, we have all seen a lot of theology, doctrines, and predictions built around these numbers. Nonetheless, in speculating as to when Yeshua will return, one of the first questions that comes to mind is: Why the 2000 year wait that we have lived through? Especially when, 2000 years ago Yeshua said, “Yes, I am coming quickly,” and, especially considering Peter’s proclamation, that we are in the last days (Acts 2:17; Revelation 22:20).

At least we can take comfort in the fact that we are 2000 years later than Peter was! Additionally, we can all agree that we have come to a time in history in which we are now seeing a fulfillment of the command given to Daniel: “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 12:4)

We have planes, cars, and even space vehicles, which allow us to go back and forth, and we have computers program that allow us to study Scripture and to see things that were not readily available to generations before us. (That does not mean that we are seeing a new extra-biblical revelation. For example, when Luther saw “Justification by Faith” in the fifteenth century, was that something new? No. It was an illumination of principles that had been there in Scripture all the time, but Luther is the one who saw it, and then other people began to see this principle in a way they had not seen it before.)

The Reestablishment Of A Jewish State

David Ben Gurion, flanked by members of his provisional government, reading the Declaration of Independence and establishment of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948 (National Photo Collection, Israel, #D662-054).

There are several events that have happened in the latter portion of this century that point to a likelihood that the time is near at hand when Yahveh will restore His Kingdom to Israel. Event number one is the reestablishment of a Jewish State. We are seeing the fulfillment of prophecies that Judah would return first in unbelief: “Yahveh, our Lord, will save the tents of Judah first.” (Zechariah 12:7) “And, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. . . Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. . . On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.” (Ezekiel 36:26-34)

The Messianic Jewish Movement

The second event is the Messianic Jewish Movement.

In the first century, Judaism, with its temple, priesthood, and sacrificial system, divided into two major branches: Christianity, with its sacrifice and grace, and Rabbinical Judaism, with its Law, feasts and traditions. And, for the past nineteen centuries, there have been Rabbinical Jews who have recognized Jesus as their Messiah. Wrongfully, conversion to Christianity required that they give up he observance of Torah, the Feasts of Israel, and Jewish traditions. Then, in the early 1970s, there were several small groups of Jews who, independently of each other, came to the conclusion that, while they would accept Yeshua as their Messiah, they would not give up their Jewish identity. Instead, they would incorporate their observance of Torah, the Feasts of Israel, and many of their Jewish traditions with their newfound faith in the Messiah of Israel.

The Messianic Israel Movement

The third event is the Messianic Israel Movement.

During the past nineteen centuries, there have been some Christians who have recognized the value of observing Torah, the Feasts of Israel (and some Jewish traditions) – and they have. And presently are, even today, giving up their faith in the deity of Yeshua, as was, and still is wrongfully required of all who would convert to Rabbinic Judaism.

However, in the late seventies, there were Christians who began to see their identity as Israelites, and to see that they too are an integral part of the people of Israel. Slowly, they began to realize that they are Ephraim, the other house of Israel. They also recognized the value of observing the principles of Torah, the Feasts of Israel, and of incorporating some of the Jewish traditions into their faith in Yeshua.

These two Movements are struggling, through internal divisions and strife, and sibling rivalry. Yet, slowly, ever so slowly, they are maturing and beginning to walk in the knowledge that both are a part of the United Israel that will soon herald the return of Messiah and ultimately be used of Yahveh to help bring to pass the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.

One of the most obvious signs of this truth is the fact that you are reading this issue of the House of David Herald, which is subtitled, The Voice of Messianic Israel. And, that you know that you are an Israelite. Thus, you serve as a proof that the prophet Hosea delivered an accurate prophecy concerning the punishment to the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel – that they would not be Yahveh’s people any longer because of their idolatry, that the day would come in which Yahveh would turn this judgment around, and that the children of Ephraim/Israel would become the “sons of the Living God.”

Yes! We are part of a small number of forerunners who have been granted the unmerited grace of seeing that punishment come to an end.

The Punishment Of Ephraim

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 Yahveh’s dealings with the Prophet 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 that Yahveh was talking to Ephraim/Israel because He goes on to say, “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)

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 deals with the length of the punishment for their iniquity. The people of the northern ten tribes would not repent of their paganism, and Yahveh was adamant concerning the fact that He is a jealous God, and that they were 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. 

The Punishment Of Judah

We gain a better understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment by taking a look 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. We know this from the account of the two sisters, Aholah (Samaria) and Aholibah (Jerusalem and Judah), which account is given in the twenty-third Chapter of Ezekiel. These two sisters engaged in prostitution while 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.

Dining 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.[8] 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 these Gentile ways, Yahveh gave them over to the Assyrians to 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.”

Her sister’s cup contained 390 years of punishment! Thus, adding 390 years of punishment to the 40 years which Judah initially received, 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. Therefore, if we take 596 B.C. as the first year of their punishment, then 430 years later would bring us to 166 B.C.

What happened in 166 B.C.?

The Maccabean’s revolted against the Greeks. In coming to 166 B.C., we come to the time of the Maccabean’s victory over the Greeks, and to the miracle cleansing of the ternple – 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 flesh 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.[9]

The Length Of Ephraim’s Punishment?

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

No. For unfortunately, Ephraim would receive far more than 390 years. Yahveh’s fourfold declaration given in the Twenty Sixth Chapter of Leviticus 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. And, 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. Since they repented, their punishment lasted only 430 years.

But, hapless Ephraim has 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)

But, ill-fated Ephraim, in addition to the 2730 years of punishment, was to receive an additional punishment. For Yahveh said, “I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.” (Jeremiah 16:18)

This punishment does not refer to Judah, because they were not guilty in this regard: Who made the golden calves? Who changed the feast days? Who made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi? It was Ephraim (1 Kings 12:28-32). So Yahveh said He would first doubly repay Ephraim for his iniquity.

Now, using the same 390 years as a basis, we see that Ephraim is given a second punishment, one that consists of 780 years of punishment.

Yahveh addresses Ephraim’s double punishment through the Prophet Hosea, who was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom: “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol—l will redeem them from death. Death, where are your thorns? Sheol, where is your sting?” (Hosea 13:4)

There is hope for Ephraim; a time was going to come when Yahveh would ransom him.

So poor misguided Ephraim received a sentence of 2730 years, and a sentence of 780 years. However, he was given a big break, in that the two punishments ran concurrently. Like a child who was grounded for seven weeks and also barred from watching TV for the first two weeks, so Ephraim was destined to be the recipient of two simultaneous punishments. As we will later see, one was to be affected on a corporate, or national level, and the other would be realized on an individual basis.

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.[10]

Thus, if we take the date of 734 B.C., and add 780 years (the double punishment), we come to the year 46 A.D.!

What happened about that time?

End of Ephraim’s Double Punishment

It is no coincidence that Yeshua’s first declaration of himself as Messiah came not to a Jewish person, but to the Samaritan woman (John 4:26). The Woman of Samaria at the Well, James Tissot, 1886-1894, Brooklyn Museum.

That was when the Gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles. For the first ten to twenty years, the church was all Jewish – it was even called a sect of Judaism (Acts 24:5; 28:22). It was about that time that Paul, who was given the primary mission of going to the Gentiles, began his active ministry. Thus began the end of Ephraim’s double punishment.

Those of Ephraim, the lost sheep who came to know Yeshua’s voice, received a great blessing. Thus began a time wherein those who had once “filled Yahveh’s inheritance with idols” could now themselves be filled with His Holy Spirit. Yeshua began to fulfill Yahveh’s promise to ransom them. Paul referred to this promise that Yahveh had made through the Prophet Hosea, saying, “But when this perishable must put on the imperishable and this mortal must put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your sting?” (II Corinthians 15: 54-55; Hosea 13:4)

What was Paul doing in Corinth? He was going about his ministry to the Gentiles – to the Ephraimites who had been swallowed up by the Nations.

James, in his address to the Council at Jerusalem. makes two very interesting statements regarding the swallowed up Ephraimites who had become Gentiles: “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it. In order that the rest of mankind may seek Me, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says Yahveh, who makes these things known from of old.’ Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to Yahveh from among the Gentiles.” (Acts 15:15-19)

James uses the word “turning,” which indicates a process. Rather than a done deal, or an accomplished fact; and James is referring to Gentiles who are in the process of turning to Yahveh. The Greek word epistrepho, which is translated turning, could just as well be translated as returning! Strong defines “epistrepho (ep-ee-stref’-o) as, “to revert (lit., fig. or mor.): –come (go) again. convert, (re-) turn (about, again).”

Consequently, the Holy Spirit, concerning the “mystery of the Gentiles,” is having James say, “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are returning to Yahveh from among the Gentiles.”

From this understanding, we, from whom the blindness to our identity has been removed, can see one more proof text of Yahveh fulfilling His promise made in Hosea – the promise to redeem those of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Yeshua said, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of Yahveh is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15) For the past 2000 years, the manifestation of the Kingdom of Yahveh has been on an individual basis. We have not had a corporate, or national Kingdom of Yahveh on earth. After all, if we had a National Kingdom of Israel – comparable to the Kingdom of David and Solomon, with one altar and one capital city – we would not have splintered into some 5,000 denominations and cults.

Why have we not had a National Kingdom?

Because Ephraim’s corporate, or national punishment had not been completed.

When Will Ephraim’s Punishment End?

When will Ephraim’s corporate 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.

The reason?

Because the punishment of Israel is at an end, and Ephraim would not be rewarded with the restoration of the Kingdom while he was being punished!

When Yeshua returns, His people will be freed. This demands that He adhere to His own Word, and not return until the punishment He mandated for those of Ephraim is completed. Remember, Yeshua, when He was being asked about the date the Kingdom would be restored, just prior to His accession from the Mount of Olives, knew that the Kingdom would not be restored to Israel until the punishment 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 that: 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 they began to see that, as Ephraimites, they were full-fledged members of the people of Israel to whom the Holy One of Israel 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. However, there are quite a few events that point to the time frame of 1996-2008:

First we note that Yeshua said the generation that sees the fig tree blossom will see His return (Matthew 24:32-34). We can look at a generation in Scripture as being 25 years, 40 years, 100 years, or even 120 years.

In highlighting a few “generation examples,” we start with the meeting of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897. There Theodor Herzl wrote, “At Basel I founded the Jewish state. . . In five years, perhaps, and certainly in fifty, everyone will see it.” (His fifty-year prediction was only eight months short of the actual date of the foundation of the Jewish state in May 1948.)

Another meaningful date is 1917, it being the year of the Balfour Declaration – which declaration set in motion the return that would result in the birth of the Jewish State. Further, 1917 was the year in which General Allenby liberated Palestine and Jerusalem from the Gentile (true pagan) rule of the Turkish Empire, and thus made it physically possible for Jews to return in sufficient numbers to found a state.[11]

The year 1948, when the Jewish state was founded, was also a significant year; as was 1967, when the old city of Jerusalem was liberated and the borders of the Jewish state were greatly expanded.

The year 1967 is significant for another reason. It was during this year that a chain of extraordinary events commenced which culminated in the founding of the House of David – the ministry to Messianic Israel. And, Yahveh has been using House of David to inspire an accumulation of insight, from Scripture, which is resulting in the “teaching of the two houses of Israel.”

If we use a 100-year generation, then, from Herzl’s proclamation, we would come to a 1996-1997 time frame, and using a 120 year generation would carry us well past 2008. With 1917 as a base year, we surely have a hundred year period of time when, not only the punishment will be completed, but the time period which saw the foundation of the Jewish State, the liberation of the old city of Jerusalem, and could very well see the significant return of Ephraimites to the land.

Forty years from 1967 brings us to 2007, one year shy of 2008, which marks 2730 years from 722 B.C., which probably marks the latest date that the punishment of Ephraim will be fully completed.

Also, two thousand years from the birth of Yeshua, which most sources agree was in 4 B.C., brings us to the year 1996. And, in Hosea 6:2, Yahveh says of Ephraim, “He will revive us after two days, he will raise us up on the third day (the millennial Kingdom) that we may live before Him.”

Six thousand years from creation (4004 B.C.) brings us again to the year 1996. Additionally, there are going to be some big celebrations in Jerusalem in 1996, to celebrate the 3000-year birthday of the founding of the city of Jerusalem by King David.

A House of David Perspective

Viewing these dates from a House of David perspective, we see that, forty years from 1948 brings us to 1988, the year when Batya’s first book, In Search Of Israel, the foundational manual on the teaching of the “two houses,” was published. Twenty-five years from 1967 brings us to 1992, when Batya’s second book, The Olive Tree Of Israel, was published, and the date from which the House of David Herald has since been published on a monthly basis. All of the above instructional material is being used to fulfill the prophecy: “For after I [Ephraim] turned back, I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed, and also humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.” (Jeremiah 31:19)

While it is interesting to contemplate numbers and their meaning, it is far more important that we realize that we who have rediscovered our identity are forerunners called to the cutting edge of what Yahveh is doing in the earth today. We are the scouts going ahead of an invincible army, an army that will be used to accomplish the Father’s Messianic Vision. It is unmerited grace that has brought us to this time and place and given each of us the unique opportunity to instruct those Ephraimites who entered the Kingdom on an individual basis to now become part of the corporate Kingdom – the Israel of Yahveh!

If the time period of 1996-2008 is the correct time for the end of the punishment, it also is a time for a glorious new beginning! For it marks the commencement of the tremendous task of instructing millions of Ephraimites as to their identity – that we might also make them aware of the job that lies before us.

We have seen the tents of Judah restored first. Can it be long before we hear the Father roar” like a lion—calling Ephraim to come trembling from the west (where an east wind had scattered him)? And Ephraim, after Yahveh brings him back in such numbers that even the lands of Gilead and Lebanon cannot contain him, will yet be like a mighty man; and together with Judah. they will be victorious over their enemies (Isaiah 11:14; Jeremiah 18:17; Hosea 11:10; Zechariah 10:10,7).

It is imperative that each of us take full advantage of the opportunities Yahveh gives us to witness concerning His Kingdom. It is essential that we keep our eyes on the truth that Yeshua came to give us the hope of life eternal. And that He has a Kingdom which currently is not of this world. However, the day is coming when the kingdoms of this world become His Kingdom. What will it take to accomplish His Messianic Vision? Yeshua said that He is not returning until they say. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Yahveh. (Luke 13:35) That means Yeshua will find a welcoming party on the Mount of Olives – a party hosted by people who love Him, and know Him. It will be a group representative of the twelve tribes of lsrael, a people who are united in the knowledge of their identity and purpose (Isaiah 56:3).

In regard to His return, Yahveh commands us three times, in Mark 13:33-37, to:

      • Keep on the alert!
      • Stay on the alert!
      • Be on the alert!

Remember the children’s story about the horseshoe nail? “For the want of a nail, a shoe was lost. For the want of a shoe, a horse was lost. For the want of a horse, the rider was lost. For the want of a rider, a troop was lost. For the want of a troop, a company was lost. For the want of a company, a battalion. a regiment, a division and an army were lost. For the want of an army, the war was lost.”

Why did they lose the war?

Because of the lack of one little horseshoe nail.

Each and every one of us is far more important than a horseshoe nail. We have to do our individual jobs and to man our individual watch post.[12] Just like the horseshoe nail had to keep the shoe on, so we have our job to do. You can have 1000 watchmen. but if one watchman doesn’t man his post, there is a hole in the wall. And, we don’t want any holes in our wall.

What Are We To Do?

Collectively, the Job we have to do is to be the watchmen that preserve Israel. And, we are the forerunners in the foremost of these watchmen! Therefore, let us take full and timely advantage of all the opportunities the Father gives us to be those watchmen. To this end, let each of us include in our daily prayers; “Father, what can l do today to advance Your kingdom here on earth?”

Remember, our question of the Father is: “What can I do?” It is not: “What should the besieged people of the Jewish State, most of whom do not know the Messiah. do to deliver themselves and the land promised to all lsrael?” Instead, we must ask: “What should we – we who do know the Messiah – do to deliver our besieged brother, and to liberate the land that You promised to all Israel?“

We do not know just how, nor for sure when, Yahveh will accomplish all the details required to restore His people to His land. However. we do know that the events that are transpiring in the Middle East do not come as any surprise to Him. We can be absolutely confident that, even though player tryouts and training operations are still being conducted, all the parts have been determined, and all the lines have been written, for the final act of this six thousand year old human drama being directed by the God of Israel. And, we have the unmerited opportunity to have decisive roles in the final acts of this drama, which are even now being played out.

As players are selected for parts, and then given the opportunity to play them out, we will see the works of Yahveh’s hand begin to emerge, and His purposes fulfilled. There will be those whom Yahveh will entrust with the power and authority to carry out His purposes under His step by step guidance.

Let us pray that we may be found among these trusted ones. May each forerunner successfully complete their tryouts, training, and learn their lines, so that when the time comes, and we are called to play our part, that it will be an “Oscar” winning performance.

Let us never forget that it is far, far, better to be prepared and not called upon, than to be unprepared and called upon.

Remain on the alert by being prepared!


[1] See “The Messianic Vision,” which outlined our Father’s plan to realize His Messianic Vision, that of manifesting His presence – in His earthly Kingdom – in the midst of a united people. The outline included His prerequisites for restoration of His Kingdom to Israel. and His prescription for the reunion of His people.
[2] Strongs #1875. darash, daw-rash‘; a prim. root; prop. to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by impl. to seek or ask; spec. to worship:–ask, X at all, care for, X diligently, inquire, make inquisition, [necro-] mancer, question, require, search, seek (for, out], X surely. Used 160 times in 152 verses:
[3] Re-quire (r‘-kw°r”) tr.v. re-quired, re-quir-ing, requires. Ab/Jr. req, 1. To have as a requisite; need. 2. To call for as obligatory or appropriate; demand. 3. To impose an obligation on; compel. –re-quir”a-ble adj –re-quir“er n.
[4] Strongs #8085. shama’, shaw-mah‘; a prim. root; to hear intelligently (often with inipl. of attention, obedience, etc.; cans. to tell, etc.):– X attentively. call (gather) together, X carefully, X certainly, consent. consider, be content, declare, X diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear (-ken, tell), X indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim (-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, X surely, tell, understand, whosoever [heareth], witness.
[5] It is imperative that we recognize that not only Yeshua is the Prophet like unto Moses, but that we have, and our forefathers before us had, the Word that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob put in His mouth. Unfortunately, many would have you believe that we do not have the true or valid Word in which we can place our hope. These attacks on our basic foundation come in all sizes, shapes and forms, and from many directions.
[6] See Batya Wootten, “Apprehending Abraham’s Blessings,” House of David Herald 5-8, August 1993.
[7] See Angus and Batya Wootten, “The Way Of The Gentiles,” House of David Herald 5-12, December 1993.
[8] Ibid.
[9] See Angus Wootten, “The Price of Peace,” House of David Herald 7-11, November 1995; Batya Wootten, “Celebrating Hanukkah,” House of David Herald (issue unknown).
[10] 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.
[11] House of David Herald, “A Mandate For Ephraim.”
[12] See House of David Herald, “Vow Of A Watchman” (issue unknown).

A Messianic Vision, by Angus Wootten

via A Messianic Vision – B’ney Yosef North America 

[Editor’s note: Is the Kingdom of Heaven coming to earth, or is the Creator bringing all His people to Heaven? If we accept the testimony of John the Apostle, it would seen Heaven comes to earth:

“Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3 TLV)

If that is the case, then what does the Kingdom of Heaven on earth look like? How does it arrive? What, if anything, can we humans do to hasten its coming?

These are questions Angus Wootten pondered for much of his life. His conclusion was that the Kingdom of Israel, composed of the Jewish part (Judah) and the non-Jewish part (Ephraim) would be restored, with both houses reunited under the reign of Messiah Son of David.

In this article, first published in January 1996, Angus offered his observations on the process of Israel’s restoration. His assessment of contemporary developments gave him cause for concern, but also great reason to hope and work for the ultimate fulfillment of the Almighty’s promises. As for how God’s people can participate in the process, Angus offers a frank analysis and a practical challenge. How have things changed in the intervening 25 years? Perhaps this article will give you a lens through which to assess our present circumstances.]


A Messianic Vision

By Angus Wootten – January 1996

And 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 of manifesting His presence – in His earthly Kingdom – in the midst of a united people? To reach this goal it is obvious that one of His larger challenges is “uniting His people Israel.”

Let us examine this challenge as it currently exists. First and foremost we have the almost three-thousand year old division between the two houses of Israel: Judah and Ephraim, originally the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. This division is manifested in our day by the division between the Jewish people and Christians, or the Church.[1] Additionally, we have the divisions that exist among each of the houses.

On one hand we have the Church divided by laws and opinions into a multitude of denominations and cults with a vast smorgasbord of theology and doctrines. These divisions are a result of generation after generation of forefathers, to some extent, forsaking the covenants of Yahveh, and following after other gods – the gods often being themselves or other men. For this reason, we have a multitude of divisions among a people who are blinded to their heritage and destiny.

On the other hand, we have the divisions among the Jewish people who are blinded to the identity of the Messiah of Israel. While their divisions are not as numerous as those among Ephraim, they currently tend to be deeper. The deepest rift is currently being manifested in the land of Israel between those who are supportive of the government policy of trading land for peace, and those who are adamantly against this sellout of their inheritance for what they see as a vain hope of a fragile and temporary peace.

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Why Ephraim Should Know More About Judah, by Angus Wootten

via Why Ephraim Should Know More About Judah – B’ney Yosef North America 

[Editor’s note: What is it that inflicts the greatest damage to human relationships? Misunderstanding, miscommunication, and stereotyping are high on the list, but perhaps there is something even higher: the belief that we know the other person.

Think about this for a moment. If we believe we know how another person or people group think and perceive the world, then we set ourselves up for all manner of obstacles to mutual respect and cooperation. If we have little or no contact with the other, then our preconceived notions remain our reality, and the other’s preconceived notions of us remain their reality. Can you see how this situation increases the probability of conflict.

This is the situation Angus Wootten addresses in this article, first published in the House of David Herald in 1995. The observations he shares – both his own and those of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein – outline the divide between Christians and Jews (Ephraim and Judah, as Angus explains). Overcoming this divide is not impossible, but it takes conscious effort in an attitude of humility and genuine brotherly love. Moreover, it is a divide we must overcome if we truly desire to see the Messianic Age that both Christians and Jews have so long awaited.]


Why Ephraim Should Know More About Judah

By Angus Wootten – October 1995

Yahveh’s ultimate goal is to manifest His presence—in His earthly Kingdom—in the midst of a united people.

To accomplish this, He chose a people from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He called that people, “Yisrael.” His chosen people went down into Egypt, being seventy in number, and there they grew into a nation. Then Yahveh brought them out of Egypt and into the Land of Promise.

Under the consecutive reigns of Kings David and Solomon they reached the pinnacle of their glory as a united kingdom. However, after the death of Solomon, the twelve tribes of Israel divided into two houses: the house of Judah and the house of Ephraim.[1] These two houses are fundamentally divided until this day. Presently, we find Judah among the Jewish people, and primarily, Ephraim is found among the “nations.” For Jacob declared that those of Ephraim would become a “melo goyim,” or, a “fulness of Gentiles.”[2]

To save those of scattered Yisrael (see Ezekiel 34), to restore “both the houses of Israel” (Isaiah 8:14), Yahveh sent His Son, Yeshua: He came to give the hope of eternal and abundant life to those whom Yahveh had called and chosen. This hope of a regathered, reunited, and thus restored kingdom of Israel, will become a reality when the greater son of David establishes His throne here on earth—when he begins His actual reign over the reunited kingdom of Israel.

How can we, as individuals, help to reunite that kingdom?

By following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul.

Paul, in Romans Eleven, saw that a combination of Jewish acceptance of Messiah, as well as the ingathering of the full number of Gentiles from among the nations, would herald this end-time kingdom. This Apostle to the nations was willing to pay the high price of his own salvation to gain the reward of a restored kingdom of Israel. His ministry to the “Gentiles,” or “wild olive branches” of Israel, had the added benefit of making the Jews jealous, that some of them might be saved. (See The Olive Tree of Israel.)

Paul wanted those of the “wild” side of the family tree of Israel (Jeremiah 11:10, 16; 2:18, 21; Romans 11), meaning the non-Jews who were being grafted into the “Rich Root” of the Olive Tree of Israel, which “Root is Yeshua (Revelation 22:16) – as well as those Jewish branches that remained on Messiah’s tree – together, he wanted them to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, in the nineteen hundred years since Paul’s witness, both houses, one believing in a present Messiah and one in a future Messiah, have contributed to building walls of misunderstanding. One solid wall that has been built by the non-Jews is that of presenting a Greek/Romanized Christ in a paganized smorgasbord of theologies. This “Greek Jesus” is much more difficult for Jews to accept than is the Hebrew Yeshua, because Yeshua conforms more closely to their image of the Messiah.

So it is that we will begin reuniting the remnant in our own house, and the reunification of both houses, as we search for the Hebrew truth of the Gospel. This search will cause us to receive back from our Jewish people many ancient truths about our heritage. It will better prepare us to reach out to them in love and mercy. And, if we will treat both houses with the dignity they rightfully deserve, then, we will be demonstrating the true message of Messiah.

Coming from the Jewish side of this search for love and mercy is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Yechiel is an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, and founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In the introduction to his book, What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism, Rabbi Eckstein likens the relationship of Jews and Christians to the two Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. Very prophetically, Yechiel says:

It is only when the two cherubim reach out and touch one another that we will see the glory and salvation of our God.

Unfortunately, over the past two thousand years, the wild olive branches (Ephraim) have continued to behave in a very “wild” manner toward their Jewish brethren. They have failed miserably at following Paul’s example. For the Jews, the Ark with its Cherubim remains lost. They are without Temple and sacrifice. Fortunately, Yahveh has a plan in progress to restore His Kingdom to the united House of Israel. That plan is as follows:

    • From the throne of His father David, Yeshua is currently ruling over the House of Jacob.
    • The Father has established the time, season or epoch that will signal when the Kingdom will be restored.
    • Yeshua has a core of disciples that are trained in the Word given Him by the Father. These disciples are raising up successors in each succeeding generation, who believe in Messiah through the words of His original disciples.
    • Thus, there will be disciples in the generation destined for the restoration of the Kingdom. They will be ready, willing and able to accomplish the desire of their Master. It is from this predestined generation that the partial hardening or blindness will be removed – and these disciples will be gathered from both the Houses of Israel, they will be gathered from all twelve tribes. From Judah will be removed his blindness to the Messiah, and from Ephraim his blindness to his roots (Jeremiah 31:18-19).
    • These disciples will witness both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. They will witness to the truth that it will be through the unity of the two Houses of Israel that the world will believe. Then, the end will come, and the Kingdom of Yahveh will be manifested on earth.

If you believe this may well be the generation destined for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, then we need to answer two questions: What are we going to about it? And, what price are we willing to pay?

The correct answer to both questions is: LOVE! We must love our brother Judah. The price we must pay, if we are going to be successful, is a price of love.

Sound Advice From An Orthodox Rabbi

Man Reading Torah, by Cottonbro, via Pexels.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein tells the story in his book, What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism, of a young man who visited his rabbi. The young man became so overwhelmed by the emotional experience that he cried out, “Rabbi, I love you dearly.” The rabbi, who was both touched and amused by his student’s sincerity, asked him, “Tell me, my son, you say that you love me, but where do I hurt? What ails me?” To this the perplexed young man responded, “I do not know where you hurt, Rabbi, but, nevertheless, I love you dearly.” The rabbi then replied, “But how can you say you love me when you do not even know where I hurt and what brings me pain?”

Yechiel’s story illustrates the truth that we cannot truly love our brother Judah until we know where he hurts. We cannot help until we know what brings him pain. Let us listen to Yechiel as he speaks at an Israel Symposium, and recounts some of his thoughts, beliefs, and experiences. The following excerpts from his message will give us a better understanding of our brother Judah, of what he believes, of what brings him joy, and of what brings him pain.

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Recently, in my role as a mediator between Christians and Jews, I was called to mediate in regards to a Christian company called the Family Entertainment Network. They are producing bible stories on video for children. And they are using TV infommercials as a marketing tool for their videos. In a half hour program they present selected segments from their video series to motivate the viewing audience to purchase their videos.

These animated videos were deeply offensive to Jews. They portrayed Yeshua as a blond, blue eyed, soft featured Anglo-Saxon. And they presented all of those who did not accept Him with big hooked noses, unkempt long black curly hair. A totally different image from Yeshua – as if Yeshua was not a Jew.

Also there were segments of the video that used selections from the King James Version of the Scriptures to paint a very unfavorable picture of the Jews who did not accept Yeshua. One example was how they conspired to kill Yeshua.

Sadly, the primary targets of this message are children, ages five to twelve.

What struck me about this affair is that the Christians who produced this material were in my mind not anti-Semitic. However, they were unaware of those pages of Christian history that most Christians never studied, yet they are the pages that Jews are primarily familiar with.

However, this situation is quite similar to the situation surrounding the movie The Last Temptation of Christ. In it, there were insensitivities on the part of many Jews to Christian sensibilities.

What this shows me is that two thousand years is a long time to be apart, to be separate. And that all sorts of misunderstandings can arise during that period.

Yahveh Does Not Hear The Prayers of Jews?

A number of years ago Baily Smith, then the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, made the comment that God Almighty does not hear the prayers of Jews. It became a big issue at the time, so I took him and some Southern Baptist leaders to Israel. And, I spoke at his church in Dell City, Oklahoma. I spoke frankly about the history of the Jewish people and their images of Christians. I told them about the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust, and the State of Israel. After I finished, the congregation was clapping, and Baily Smith came over to me and said: ‘Isn’t Rabbi Eckstein terrific? We have to bring him back for one of our crusades.’

The whole congregation was agreeing, ‘Bring him to the crusades, bring him to the crusades.’

I heard the word ‘crusades,’ and I was ready to run.

In that moment, I realized again, that to him the word crusade meant one thing, and to me the word crusade elicited an entirely different emotion. Yet, he was not intending to be offensive or instill that emotion in me.

The Cross: Symbol of Yahveh’s Love For Christians An Object Of Fear For Many Jews

One more example, that is more powerful than any other, involves the symbol of the cross.

Father Ed Flannery, one of the first Catholics involved in Christian/Jewish dialogue, wrote a book in the early Sixties in which he described why he became involved:

One day he was walking down the street with a Jewish woman. Suddenly she stopped talking. He could sense she was uncomfortable. He thought maybe he had said something to offend her, but she assured him that he had not said or done anything offensive. Later, Father Flannery pressed the woman as to what had happened. She answered, ‘Do you remember when we were walking on Elm Street, and we passed that church with a big cross? I am sorry Father, but every time I see a cross I am afraid. I shudder. I am reminded of what the cross meant to my forefathers, and how they were taken to the cross and burnt and martyred because they refused to accept the cross.’

Father Flannery asked himself, ‘How could this symbol of God’s ultimate love be understood by this Jewish woman as an object of fear?’

That is when he began to study the pages of Christian history that he had never studied before. These pages are the only pages of Christian history of which this Jewish woman was aware.

I see Christians and Jews as two ships passing in the night. We each want to make this world a better and holier place. But often we fail to do so. The stereotypes and images that we have of one another just go right by the true essence of one another.

The Challenges We Face As Christians and Jews:

First to reverse our sad and tragic history by really coming to understand the other – not as we perceive the other but as the other perceives himself. We need to stop and let the other community and individuals define themselves.

Second is to demonstrate true love. It is often easy to love a community as an idea or as an ideal. I have come to know many Christians over the years, who love Jews as an idea. They sometimes love Jews as a biblical ideal. This is a good starting point. But, it is a lot harder to love us with our flaws. We are flawed, we are sinful. Many of us are secular, and it is a lot harder to love us in reality than as an idea.

We must come to a place where we can love one another unconditionally.

I have met many Christians who have loved in the hope that _______. Who love in the expectation that ________. Who love on the condition that _______.

I’ll let you fill in the blanks. However, the essence of Christian love, as I understand it, is to love unconditionally. And, then to let God move.

I have been in many churches where the Pastor will ask the congregation, ‘How many people did we bring to Christ this week?’

I feel like saying, ‘According to my understanding of Christian theology you didn’t bring anybody to Christ. It is God through the Holy Spirit who brings people to Christ.’

The Christians who feel their goal is to bring the world to Christ are wrong. The Christian great commission is to preach of God’s love through Yeshua to the whole world. And God, in His time, in His mysterious way, as Paul describes in Romans Eleven, will do what He wants to do through the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit He will work on individuals to bring about the changes He desires. It will not be man’s doing but God’s doing, and God can be trusted.

In essence, the second goal is to love unconditionally and to leave things to God.

The third point is to demonstrate unselfish love. A boy scout schleps an old lady across the street, who doesn’t want to go across the street. He isn’t showing love to her. He is harassing her. I’ve met many Christians who want to love Jews the way that they want to love Jews, not the way Jews want and need to be loved.

Why Are We So Chosen?

We are witnessing God’s presence in history today, in a way that, in my opinion, is no less powerful, and no less demonstrable than when He entered into history and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. I asked myself, and my congregation, ‘What did we do to merit the privilege of being part of this generation. The generation that has seen the rebirth of the State of Israel. Why should we be the ones to witness the reunification of Jerusalem? That we should be the ones to see a community of black Jews, that have not had any contact with the rest of the Jewish community for two thousand years be plucked out in one twenty-four hour period to return to their homeland to join their brothers and sisters. What did we do to merit seeing the Jews of Russia repressed and oppressed for decades being allowed to come to home to Israel.’ I don’t know. But, one thing is very clear to me, God is calling his children home. We are seeing that He is true to his Word.

Six Million Bones In The Valley of Sheol

The Jewish people lost six million of their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in the Holocaust. One third of the of the world’s Jewish population perished. We Jews looked down into the valley of Sheol that was in Europe, and we saw six million dry bones. This was no less compelling than what Ezekiel saw in his valley of dry bones. And, we asked as Ezekiel did, ‘Will these bones again live?’

As Jews we wondered if we could recover from such a life blow. And, behold a miracle occurred. Flesh and sinew appeared on those bones. And, the Jewish people experienced resurrection – they came to the State of Israel!

For Jews, The Road To Jerusalem Is Paved With The Ashes of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Treblinka

The link between death and resurrection constitutes the core of your identity as Christians. It is not enough for you as Christians to say that Yeshua died on the cross on Friday. What makes you a Christian is your ability to say, ‘He rose from the dead three days later.’

Israel Is Our Easter Sunday

The rebirth of the State of Israel is our Easter Sunday. It gives us hope for the future, and the will to carry on. Israel is our proof that God still loves His Jewish people – that He has not abandoned them. And, that the promises and covenants He made with our forefathers are still intact.

Seeing Israel: Through The Eyes of a Black Pastor

My work and ministry were born, without my even knowing it. It began one evening in a hotel room in Jerusalem.

I grew up in an Orthodox home. My father was an Orthodox Rabbi, the chief Rabbi of Canada. I studied in Yeshivas, and Orthodox Jewish schools all my life. After my ordination in New York I went to Columbia for my doctoral. It was my first time not only being in a school with non-Jews, but in a school with women. I became the Director of Interreligious Affairs for a group called the Anti-Defamation League. And, one of the first things I did was to bring a group of twenty-five Christians to Israel.

I must tell you that all my life I thought Israel was only related to the Jewish people. I was never aware of the fact that there were Christians who felt anything about Israel. This was my first experience at seeing Israel through Christian eyes. My roommate on the twelve day trip was an eighty-six year old black Baptist minister from Virginia. And, I said to myself, ‘This is going to be a long twelve days.’ I had nothing at all in common with this man. He was poor, and had been saving money for ten years so he could afford to go to Israel before he died. Finally his children got together and picked up the balance of the ticket so he could go. And, as fate would have it, this man was my roommate.

On the morning of the first day in Jerusalem I went out on the veranda overlooking the city. I put on my tallit, tefillin, prayer shawl and phylacteries, and said my morning prayers. Tears came to my eyes as I looked over the beautiful city of Jerusalem and realized I had come home.

I’m sure that my roommate saw me, but he didn’t say anything. That night I came back to the room a little bit late, and, he didn’t see me walk in. I saw him kneeling by the bed with hands lifted upward to heaven. He was crying like a baby. He kept saying, ‘Lord, thank you. I am luckier than Moses. I am luckier than Moses. Moses only got to see the Promised Land. I got to walk in it.’

We Both Cried Our Tears Of Joy

I realized at that moment that this eighty-six year black Baptist minister from Virginia, and this twenty-five year old, newly ordained, hot-shot white Rabbi from New York, had far more in common than I ever could have imagined. We both cried our tears of joy for the privilege, the undeserved privilege of being able to walk in the Holy Land.”

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We pray these nuggets from Yechiel will give you food for thought. And, that they will encourage you to more effectively reach out to your brother Judah.

To learn more about Jews and Judaism we recommend Yechiel’s book, and his audio and video tapes:

    • In his book, What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism, Yechiel will continue to enrich your understanding of modern Judaism. And, he continues his eloquent plea for both Christians and Jews to relinquish prejudicial myths about each other, and to enter into dialogue that respects the individual parameters of each faith. 336 pages.
    • In his cassette tape, Selections From Ask The Rabbi, Yechiel discusses: What Christians should know about Jews, and Jews about Christians. What the State of Israel means to Jews today. Why Jews wear prayer shawls and affix a mezuzzah to their doorpost, and much more.
    • His video, God, Israel & The Bible: A Jewish Perspective, is geared toward Christians and Jews alike, and includes teachings on: God, the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Noahite covenants, the Dispersion, the Holocaust, Christian/Jewish relations, Christian missions, The Jewish return to Zion and building of modern Israel, Establishing fellowship between Christian and Jews, and more.

Yechiel is not only a learned Rabbi, he also is a soul stirring singer and guitarist. In his audio cassette tape, Shiray Shalom (Songs of Peace) he sings Hebrew Scriptures set to modem and traditional Jewish melodies. The cassette comes with a printed English translation.

We also recommend the following books:

    • Anti-Semitism: Causes And Effects (Revised & Updated Second Edition) by Paul E. Grosser & Edwin G. Halperin. This book is an indispensable guide to an understanding of anti-Semitism, its history, and the present state of Jewish-Christian relationships. Hard cover, 438 pages.
    • The Jewish People And Jesus Christ After Auschwitz, by Jakob Jocz. This is an excellent study in the controversy between Church and Synagogue. It also integrates a “new phenomenon of our age,” the rise of Jewish Christianity. It integrates the Messianic Jewish movement as an important factor in the discussions between Church and Synagogue. 273 pages.

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Quite naturally, there are profound theological differences between the Believer and the Orthodox Jew. Nevertheless, like Yechiel and the eighty-six year old black Baptist minister from Virginia, we have much in common.

If we, as Ephraimites, are going to successfully lead the way in making the house of Judah and the house of Ephraim the united house of Israel, then we must concentrate on hearing our brother, and learning how to love him.

A Word To The Wise

In seeking to love the people of Judah, let us not add to the problem by mistreating the people of Ephraim. Let us be wise enough to treat both houses with absolute equity. Let us judge both peoples with righteous, absolutely equitable, judgment, for only then will they reunite.


[1] See 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.

[2] The ArtScroll Tanach Series says the word used, 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.” See Genesis, Volume 6, page 2121. Also see Strong’s words # H4393 and 1471. Additionally, note that melo is used in Psalm 24:1, being translated, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Searching For Our Tribal Heritage, by Angus Wootten

via Searching For Our Tribal Heritage – B’ney Yosef North America

[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.]


Searching For Our Tribal Heritage

By Angus Wootten – August 1994

House of David Herald, vol 7-8, August 1994

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:[1] 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.

Josiah, like his great-grandfather Hezekiah, led a national revival that included inviting remnants of the ten tribes of Israel’s northern kingdom to join Judah in celebrating the Passover. (Koning Josia viert Pesach (King Josiah Celebrates Passover), Philips Galle, after Maarten van Heemskerck, Haarlem, c. 1569, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.)

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.[2]

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.[3] 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,[4] 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).

[1] See Key of David Publishing.

[2] See “Hezekiah,” page 703, Eerdmans’ The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

[3] See Chapter 23, In Search of Israel, Key of David Publishing

[4] All of Yair Davidiy’s books are available here: https://www.britam.org/books.html.