[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.
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.
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.
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, which is here translated require, 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 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.
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. 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).
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.
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
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. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. 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!