The Jubilee Generation! by Angus Wootten

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


The Jubilee Generation!

By Angus Wootten – November 1998

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how did Yeshua fulfill these Scriptures?

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

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

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

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

The Concept of Jubilee

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer is, “Yes!”

Why?

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

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

Defining A Generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ephraim’s Punishment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judah’s Punishment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did Judah’s punishment start?

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

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

What happened in 166 B.C.?

The Maccabees revolted against the Greeks.

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

The Length Of Ephraim’s Punishment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exactly what was Ephraim’s punishment?

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

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

When Did Ephraim’s Punishment Start?

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

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

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

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

When Will Ephraim’s Punishment End?

When will Ephraim’s punishment be ended?

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

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

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

Because Ephraim’s punishment is now at an end!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A House for All the World’s Prayers

“Jonah sits under the miracle tree near Nineveh,” Caspar Luyken, 1708, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Music: “The Prayer,” Charlotte Church and Josh Groban, Prelude: The Best of Charlotte Church, Integrity/Columbia(P), Sony Music 2002.

Our Heavenly Father holds out the promise of redemption to every person. Do we really believe that? Or in our hearts do we consider some more worthy of redemption than others?

Isaiah 56:4-8; Jonah 3:10-4:10; Matthew 12:41; Mark 12:15-17

Click here to listen to the podcast:

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-jat9j-ec288d

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.

************

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.”