Worthless Things, or Abundant Mercy?

BFB210918 Van de Velde - Jonah Under the Miracle Plant
“Jonah Under the Miracle Plant,” Jan van de Velde II, 1603-1641, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

We might smile at Jonah’s predicament in the great fish, but is there a lesson in that bigger-than-life tale that we might have overlooked?

2 Kings 9:1-10, 14:23-27; Ezekiel 14:1-5; Hosea 11:1-7; Jonah 2:2-10, 4:1-10; Romans 11:20-24

Click here to listen to the podcast: Worthless Things, or Abundant Mercy?

Click here to download the transcript: Worthless Things or Abundant Mercy.pdf

Music: “Jonah,” Zion Harmonizers, Thank You Lord, Sound of New Orleans 1996.

Summer of Love or Summer of Destiny?

The reason Jerusalem was destroyed in the 1st Century, according to Luke 19, was because the people did not recognized the time of their visitation.  We live in a time similar to 1st century Israel in that many people, the people of God even, are missing what God is doing in and through His people Israel in our time. Many people are distracted by the chaos, confusion and noise of our modern world. This should not be case for God’s children! God’s light and love is being shown and shone into the entire world. The “time of our visitation” is what we at the Nations’ 9th of Av like to call, the “time of our invitation!” God is inviting us to be a part of His grand plan of redemption. Shine God’s light into the world around you, and watch as the darkness is pierced, for surely, as the Prophet Isaiah said, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you!”

The Nations 9th of Av invites everyone to join and be an active part of what God is doing in the world today. We are preparing now to observe the 9th of Av – the annual day of mourning by the Jewish people – on July 17-18 with a 25-hour video prayer and worship event. Visit us at www.9-av.com to learn more and join our email list.

Embrace the past to transform the future of Christian-Jewish relations. Stand with Israel! Together we can make a difference.

Click here to watch the video: The Time of Our Visitation

The Time of Our Visitation

BFB210530 1967 Contrasts
Left: Revelers at the “Fantasy Fair” in Mill Valley, California during the Summer of Love (Photo by Elaine Mayes, California Historical Society “On the Road to the Summer of Love Exhibition,” via History.com). Right: Israeli paratroopers sits along the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 7, 1967 (Israeli Defense Ministry IDF Archive, via Jewish Virtual Library.)

It’s possible to live through earth-shaking times and miss the really important things. That’s why it’s good to remember that God’s redemptive plan hinges on Israel and Israel’s Messiah.

Psalm 121:1-8; Esther 8:13-14; Zechariah 12:3; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 19:41-44; Romans 11:25-27; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22

Click here to listen to the podcast: The Time of Our Visitation

Click here to watch the video: The Time of Our Visitation

Click here to download the transcript: The Time of Our Visitation.pdf

Music:”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” The Beatles, The Beatles, 1967-1970 Disc 1, Capitol Records 1970; “Chorus: He, Watching Over Israel,” Felix Mendelssohn, performed by Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh, Mendelssohn: Elijah, 1846, Signum Records 2012.

Where Is Ephraim? And Where Is He Going?, by Angus and Batya Wootten

via Where Is Ephraim? And Where Is He Going? – B’ney Yosef North America 

[Editor’s note: What greater purpose in life could there be than laboring to see the Kingdom of Heaven fully manifested on earth? This is in accordance with our Messiah’s instructions in His model prayer for us:

Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10 TLV)

This is the goal and hope of God’s people, but few think about how the Kingdom will come about, or what it will look like when it is here. One thing that is clear according to Scripture is that there is only one Kingdom, and it is called Israel. This is the foundational understanding of everything Angus and Batya wrote. In this article, first published in 1995, they briefly outline what Scripture says about the structure of the Kingdom, and what we can do to see its prophesied restoration come to pass.]


Where Is Ephraim? And Where Is He Going?

By Angus and Batya Wootten – July 1995

Jacob, when on his deathbed, blessed Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. In that blessing, the Patriarch prophesied that Ephraim’s descendants would become a “melo ha goyim,” or, “fullness of the Gentiles” (Genesis 48:19). Many centuries later, when Jacob’s sons had become the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the nation divided into two houses: Ephraim and Judah, Israel’s Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Both kingdoms disobeyed Yahveh, but Ephraim even went so far as to become nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding nations (“gentiles”). The disobedience of both houses brought on Yahveh’s sentence of judgment: exile into the nations.

Before scattering the “gentilized” Ephraimites, Yahveh sent the prophet Hosea to them, through whom He declared that the Ten Tribes would be scattered among all the nations (Jezreel), and thus lose their identity as Israelites (Lo-Ammi). However, He also said that one day they would “respond to Jezreel,” meaning their scattering. Like seed, they would experience a second birth that would make them once again the people of Israel. Even as the prophets prophesied, countless numbers of these scattered sheep have been found by the “Shepherd,” and so have “become sons of the Living God” (Amos 9:9; Hosea 1-2; Ezekiel 34:6-23; Romans 9:26).

Further, Yahveh has a plan for “reborn” Ephraim. It is a three-fold plan that will reunite the two houses of Israel: Ephraim and Judah. He will use this reunited people to fulfill His ultimate goal: that of bringing heaven to earth. To accomplish this task, Yahveh Elohim will –

    • Identify Ephraim
    • Reunite Ephraim and Judah
    • Restore the Kingdom to a reunited Israel, and usher in Messiah’s return (John 17; Romans 11:25-26, Jeremiah 31:18-19. Isaiah 8:14; 11:11-14; Ezekiel 37:15-28).

Who will Yahveh use to execute this plan? Scripture and history are clear. Yahveh uses and works with man in fulfilling Biblical prophecy. In the matter of reuniting His nation, He has placed the responsibility of reconciliation on Ephraim, who is the wild olive branch (Jeremiah 2:18, 21; 11:10, 16, Isaiah 11:13; Romans 11:11, 15:25-26).

Therefore, Yahveh is issuing a call to the Ephraimites: He is “whistling” for Ephraim. He is strengthening those who answer His call by removing the blindness regarding their identity – that they may again be like mighty men. Yahveh is giving these Ephraimites a “knowing” deep within their being that they are Israelites. This “knowing” is like the “knowing” they have regarding their personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And, this “knowing” is changing their lives. It is causing them to see the need to walk in righteousness as Israelites, and it is giving them an even deeper love for their brother, Judah (Zechariah 10:7-12, Hosea 11:10; Romans 11:25; Isaiah 27:9).

In the forefront of this regathering are those who realize the Father would use them to accomplish His Divine Mandate for Ephraim. Thus, they seek to instruct others whom the Father is awakening about their identity and about their responsibility – as “watchmen” for the whole house of Israel (Hosea 9:8; Ezekiel 3:17; Habakkuk 2:1).

These “forerunners” realize this most important of jobs will be accomplished one Ephraimite at a time. They also know their seemingly unimportant accomplishments will ultimately result in the reunification of the two houses of Israel. These “forerunners” realize this integral reunion will only be accomplished by a people who are being led by the Spirit of Yahveh, and that a people truly walking in accord with His Spirit will result in Messiah’s return and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

We are on a journey toward the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father. That journey begins with a single step – but there are many more after that. Are you willing to keep taking one step after another until we reach our destination?

It only takes one little step. Perhaps that of asking the Father how this message should change your personal walk. Perhaps sharing with a friend. It just takes little steps. But, they will prove to be steps that will result in the return of our King!

Where will these steps ultimately take us?

Back to our Land.

We will return to our Land because He who scattered Israel also has promised:

“I will give her . . . the valley of Achor [from the root word for “trouble”] as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. ‘And it will come about in that day,’ declares Yahveh, ‘That you will call me Ishi [Husband] and will no longer call Me Baali [Lord]. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, so that they will be mentioned by their names no more. In that day I will also make a covenant for them . . . and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war form the land, and will make them lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever; Yes I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in loving kindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.’ Then you will know Yahveh. ‘And it will come about in that day that I will respond,’ declares Yahveh. . . ‘And they will respond to Jezreel. And I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘Thou are my God!’” (Hosea 2:16-23; also see Romans 9:15-26).

Yes! We will yet return to the Land of our forefathers! But to do so, we must take our first step. . . .

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

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


Fishers of Men! How Many Fish Must We Catch?

By Angus Wootten – September 1998

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

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

How big is that job?

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

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

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

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

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

Stembridge writes:

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

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

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

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

What is our task?

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

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

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

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

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

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