Looking Through A Door of Hope, by Angus Wootten

via Looking Through A Door of Hope – B’ney Yosef North America

[Editor’s note: The default mode in our perceptions of the world tends to be focusing on the small part of a subject that we understand well – or think we understand. Whether it is politics, economics, parenting, theology, or any other realm of human endeavor, people seem to prefer remaining in their comfort zone of what is familiar, thus leaving the bigger picture out of their calculations. This is why men and women of vision are so remarkable, and often misunderstood. They see the big picture, and they try to make sense of all the different, seemingly contradictory, parts of that picture.

Angus Wootten was such a visionary. Having caught a glimpse of the big picture of God’s plans in restoring the kingdom to Israel, and what that means for redemption of the whole world, he strove for much of his life to explain this in terms everyone could understand. Having spent some time in Africa with the US Army, he developed a fascination with elephants, so it’s not surprising that a familiar elephant story provided the background for his explanation of the prophesied Latter Days, or End Times. Angus wove that story into the last piece he ever wrote for publication: the Foreword to his wife, Batya’s, book, A Door of Hope for the Last Days. Although the book is not currently in print, we share Angus’ Foreword in tribute to a brother who labored all his life to help God’s covenant people achieve ever greater unity while celebrating their diversity.]


Looking Through a Door of Hope

By Foreword to A Door of Hope for the Last Days

By Angus Wootten – September 2014

We would all like to know what the scenario will be for the ending of this earthly drama that started some six thousand years ago in the Garden of Eden and will end in the New Jerusalem sometime in the future.

Our Creator says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10, NIV).

Even though the Almighty makes known the end from the beginning, and Genesis means Beginnings, most Believers turn to the latter parts of Scripture, to the books of Daniel and Revelation for answers to their end time questions. Scripture indicates that we should begin our search in Genesis.

In addition, we are told that Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:20-21, NIV).

Our focus has long been on when the restoration will happen rather than on who is being restored and what are they being restored to. Perhaps it is time to shift our focus.

As we seek to understand the end times, we suggest thinking in terms of a puzzle. The first step in putting a puzzle together is to gather all of the pieces. And, an accurate scenario must include all of Israel’s as yet unfulfilled promises. YHVH said: “I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:25). YHVH wants to restore all twelve of Israel’s tribes.

Whether we are trying to put the puzzle together ourselves or reviewing another’s handiwork, to be a completed puzzle it must include all of the pieces. For this reason, we submit that most Christian end time theories are sorely lacking—because they tend to leave Israel’s full restoration out of the picture, and because they separate themselves from the salient truth that they, too, are part of Israel’s commonwealth (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Problems in discerning the end times are well illustrated by John Godfrey Saxe’s (1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ‘tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” -quoth he- “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” -quoth he,-
“Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said- “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” -quoth he,- “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

There are many opinions as to how the end times will play out. Like the proverbial elephant story, we suggest that most theories fail to take into account certain heretofore unseen truths about “both the houses of Israel” (Isaiah 8:14).

In A Door of Hope for the Last Days, my wife, Batya, offers some unique insights that help us to better see the big picture and to prepare our hearts for things that potentially lie ahead. [1] She makes no claims to have figured it all out, and feels that the only One Who has a complete picture of the end times scenario is its Author, YHVH—the One who wrote the script and the end of the play before the foundation of the world.

Batya is instead most interested in heart attitudes and in encouraging Believers in the faith. In this book, she offers some wise counsel that will help build our faith, enlarge our understanding of our call in Messiah, and help prepare us for the exciting days that lie ahead.

One major problem we often encounter in a search for end times truth is that most Christian books on the subject perpetuate the belief that it is the Jewish people alone who will go through the tribulation described in Matthew, chapter 24. They fail to realize that YHVH is still dealing with “the whole elephant,” He is still dealing with the whole house of Israel. Therefore, to understand the end, we must take into account the beginning promises the Almighty made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in regard to both their fruitfulness and the Promised Land.

Suggested scenarios, if they are to be seriously considered, must include YHVH’s promises to Judah’s brother, Joseph, as well as the regathering of scattered Israel as outlined in Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and throughout all of Scripture. Solutions must include the promises made to Joseph’s son, Ephraim, whose heirs were destined to become a “melo hagoyim,” a “fullness of the Gentiles” (Genesis 48:19; Romans 11:25).

The prophets declare that those of Ephraim, those who were once deemed to be mighty warriors in Israel, are destined to once again be like a “mighty man” (Hosea 13:1; Zechariah 10:7). While it was decreed that Ephraim would never again be a separate kingdom of people, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, our Father longs for wayward Ephraim—and He has sworn that He will yet restore him (Isaiah 7:8; Jeremiah 31:15-28). It is prophesied that, when YHVH whistles for Ephraim, his heirs will return from the west and join with their brethren of Judah, and together, then, as a fully reunited house, they will defeat the Philistines who attack them (Isaiah 11:11-14; Hosea 11:9-11; Zechariah 10:8-10).

Any attempt to define the end times, of necessity must include the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom. Any end time scenario worth its salt must include this and much more.[2]

We say this, and yet acknowledge that this book, like all of its predecessors, likewise will fail to properly define the whole elephant. Nonetheless, we submit its points as being essential to any hopes of grasping the subject matter. Rather than a detailed study of rapture theories, this book is about the idea of including the whole house of Israel in any proposed scenarios. We offer our points as a suggested puzzle outline, an essential framework that will help us as we seek to collectively assemble the many puzzle pieces.

Most end time books focus on an event known as the “Rapture,” or the catching away of all, or some Believers (some believe that there will be multiple Raptures). Various scenarios have this event taking place before an assumed seven-year tribulation, before its mid-way point, before the end-time wrath associated with it, or immediately following it. (Some feel there is no such seven-year period.)

Since many believe in a seven year Tribulation, Batya makes suggestions concerning the true meaning of wrath. She addresses the fact that most Rapture books lead Believers to focus on escape from this world and thus encourage fear and inactivity. They imply that Believers should essentially sit on the street corner and wait for a Rapture Bus that will one day whisk them away. They do not focus on the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom here on Earth —nor on their important role in that restoration.

We want to instead point Believers toward the ultimate victory that is promised to the whole house of Israel—because, without taking into account the full restoration and return of all twelve tribes of Israel, one simply cannot expect to understand what is yet to come. Therefore, in hopes of helping to establish a framework in which we might collectively work together, we do hereby submit with this book, our suggested “Outline of the Elephant.”

Angus Wootten
Author; Lt. Col., Retired
Saint Cloud, FL

[1] A Door of Hope for the Last Days, originally published in 2014, is currently out of print. This is one of several works, both old and new, that Key of David Publishing hopes to make available in the future. Look for news on how you can help with these projects!

[2] For example, see Isa 5:26; 11:14; Jer 23:1-8; Eze 37:25; 48:1-36; Hos 11:10; Zec 10:7-8; Acts 15:16-17.

Who Wins When Siblings Fight?

On January 8, 1815, an odd assortment of U.S. Soldiers, French and Spanish Creoles, African slaves and free men, Kentucky frontiersmen, and French pirates set aside their differences to fight as comrades against an invading British army at New Orleans.  The peril they shared transformed these disparate residents of the western frontier into Americans - a single people who shared a common identity regardless of their past and future differences.  (Image: The Battle of New Orleans January 8th 1815 / drawn by Oliver Pelton ; engraved by Hammat Billings,1882. Accessed from the Library of Congress.)
On January 8, 1815, an odd assortment of U.S. Soldiers, French and Spanish Creoles, African slaves and free men, Kentucky frontiersmen, and French pirates set aside their differences to fight as comrades against an invading British army at New Orleans. The peril they shared transformed these disparate residents of the western frontier into Americans – a single people who shared a common identity regardless of their past and future differences. (Image: The Battle of New Orleans January 8th 1815 / drawn by Oliver Pelton ; engraved by Hammat Billings,1882. Accessed from the Library of Congress.)

Something very strange happens when people face an imminent threat to life and livelihood.  The strange thing is unity such as would never have been possible otherwise.  History provides countless examples, such as the defense of New Orleans in January 1815.  When a veteran British force attacked the city, an odd assortment of people turned out to defend their home.  They included Regular soldiers of the American army under Major General Andrew Jackson, as well as Creole gentlemen and their American merchant rivals, common laborers, farmers, militia men from far away states, black slaves and free men, and even pirates and smugglers affiliated with the infamous Jean Lafitte.  Once the threat was past, these disparate segments of society returned to their separate lives and the circumstances that divided them, but for one glorious moment they experienced the joy of being a people united in a common cause.

We might consider as well the example of our Jewish brethren in World War II.  Immediately before the war, an Arab revolt in British Palestine compelled His Majesty’s government to issue a White Paper in 1939 which closed the door on Jewish immigration to the Holy Land.  This was a political and military necessity for the British; another Arab revolt would threaten their hold on Egypt, their link to India and the Pacific, and the lifeline of the Empire.  When faced with war against Hitler’s Germany, Great Britain could not afford to lose that lifeline, and thus European Jews in peril of their lives in the Shoa (Holocaust) lost their last and best chance at escape from the death camps.

One might suppose the Jewish response to the White Paper – particularly among those living in the Land – would be violent rejection and revolt.  Some did respond that way, but the most memorable response was by David Ben Gurion, at that time among the most prominent leaders of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish settlers in the Land.  He expressed his position this way:

We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper, and we will fight the White Paper as if there were no war.

Ben Gurion’s pragmatism was instrumental in establishment of the Jewish Brigade, the only regular military unit of any Allied army in World War II comprised entirely of Jews.  The Jewish Brigade served with distinction in the British forces in Egypt, Italy, and Northwest Europe, and it also served as a training ground for Jewish warriors who carried the fight for Israel’s independence after the British Mandate over Palestine ended in 1948.

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Dying in the Wilderness

In The Brazen Serpent, James Tissot illustrates one of the many ways the Lord God cared for our fathers even as they lived out their sentence of death in the wilderness.
In The Brazen Serpent, James Tissot illustrates one of the many ways the Lord God cared for our fathers even as they lived out their sentence of death in the wilderness.

There is this problem among the people of God:  the expectation that He will come along and fix everything that is wrong in the world in an instant.  I suppose that perspective comes from the hope that one day we get to live happily ever after in some kind of undefinable paradise where the biggest problem we have for all eternity is deciding what we would like to eat.  For time immemorial, Jews and Christians of all varieties have engaged in this hope, expecting that Messiah will make everything all better without us having to do much of anything.  Messiah will indeed make everything all better, but the belief that it requires little if any effort on our part, or that it will be a pleasant experience, is nothing more than wishful thinking.  Such is the warning to ancient Israel, both the Jewish and non-Jewish parts of the nation:

Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, and sin as if with cart ropes; who say, “Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it; and let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come to pass, that we may know it!”  (Isaiah 5:18-19 NASB)

Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, for what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?  It will be darkness and not light; as when a man flees from a lion and a bear meets him, or goes home, leans his hand against the wall and a snake bites him.  Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it?  (Amos 5:18-20 NASB)

The Apostle Paul issued the same warning to followers of Messiah Yeshua in his day, noting the direct linkage of those believers – both Jewish and non-Jewish – to the people of ancient Israel:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.  Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.  (I Corinthians 10:1-6 NASB)

This is the same apostle who admonished his readers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13).  The application of his words is not limited to the ancient Mediterranean world, but to followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) down through the ages to this very day.  It is important to understand that Paul is not advocating a gospel of works for salvation, but is instead issuing an exhortation for us to take responsibility for what YHVH has given us freely by virtue of faith in Him and His Messiah.  From the very beginning our Creator has intended this to be so.  Consider His first recorded words to our first ancestors:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (Genesis 1:27-28 NASB)

To put it another way, we are intended to rule with God over the part of creation He has placed under our jurisdiction (Exodus 19:5-6; Revelation 5:9-10, 20:4-6; I Peter 2:9-10; II Timothy 2:11-12).  More importantly, we are to rule with God as His bride (Isaiah 62:4-5; Revelation 19:7-8). 

What does one call the bride of a king?  Is it not a queen?  The question, then, is this:  does the King of the Universe desire a queen who is fully capable of ruling in His Name and whom He trusts to do so, or is He content with a fat, lazy queen who screams at her servants if her food is not cooked to her definition of perfection?

If we think of our eternal destiny in these terms, we begin to see the necessity of trials and tribulations to make us ready for our Creator’s ultimate purposes.  As we mature in our relationship with Him we should grow ever more eager for the test rather than building ever more elaborate schemes to avoid it.  The eager ones who seek to please their Master will prevail, but those who seek to avoid pain most likely will succeed neither in avoiding pain, nor in prevailing over anything.

This is the subject Ken Rank addresses in his article, “Dying in the Wilderness”, recently published on United2Restore.  Be careful!  Ken makes some paradigm-shifting observations here.  Reading this may cause you to question everything you have been taught about the End Times.


Dying in the Wilderness

Ken Rank  
January 6, 2016 
Originally published on United 2 Restore

We are part of Israel; we are children of the Most High God.  He loves us, He will care for us, He will sustain us . . . and He will leave us in the wilderness with our spiritual baggage intact unless we learn how to get beyond the minutia that we allow to divide us.

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“Will Tribulation Begin A Year From Now?” Thoughts on the Shemitah and the End of the Age

The Harlot of Babylon 19th Century Russian Engraving
The Harlot of Babylon, a major player in the Great Tribulation, as depicted in a 19th Century Russian Engraving.

Most people have no desire to discuss the return of Messiah at the end of this age.  Many of them lump it into the category of “too weird”, or “myth and legend”.  Others suspect it may be true, but hope that it doesn’t happen in their lifetime.  That response comes from fear that they might not end up on the right side of the balance sheet, as well as a hefty dose of distraction due to the worldly interests that have ensnared their attention.

But then there are the believers, both Christian and Jewish, who anticipate that this age will end at some point with the great Day of the Lord.  What observant Jews think of that subject is something I am even now beginning to learn.  What Christians believe is something I have encountered all of my life.  Usually their attitudes fall into one of two categories:  either they believe God will take every person on earth by surprise because “no one can know the day or the hour”; or they affirm that we can know exactly when Jesus will return because we have the clues in the Bible.  As in all things, the truth exists somewhere between these two extremes.

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Commonwealth and Cooperation

This paper was presented on September 8, 2012 at a conference hosted jointly by Healing Tree International and Israel Arise at Hershey, PA, and again on May 25, 2013, at a fellowship hosted by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations in Franklin, TN.

140103 Pink Elephant BalloonPink Elephants

Most people have experience the peculiar phenomenon of the pink elephant in the living room, that awkward situation in which a group of people are confronted with an obvious, but uncomfortable, issue.  Because it is obvious everyone knows or suspects what the others are thinking, yet because it is uncomfortable no one is willing to address it.  Therefore the issue goes unresolved and the relationships within the group, however cordial, remain tense, fragile, and shallow.

My purpose is to address the pink elephants that keep Jews and Christians from cooperating in a spirit of mutual trust and support, touching on areas of disagreement and misunderstanding that have bedeviled us for centuries.  The intent is not to pour salt old wounds, but to move through the uncomfortable territory and arrive at common ground where we may stand together as one people united in the service of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  This journey is beset with many openings for offense.  Given the likelihood that I shall stray into one of those openings, I ask in advance for pardon, for no offense is intended.  I am confident that if we persevere together, we will overcome the awkwardness and find the common ground which we desperately need in this critical hour.

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