reprinted by permission
“I say to you, I shall never again eat it until…” (Luke 22:16).
Messiah Yeshua said He would never eat of the Passover again, “Until…”
As Messianic Israelites, we need to fully understand this conditional clause, because —final fulfillment of Passover hinges on it. To help bring to pass Messiah’s Passover proviso, there is something required of we who seek to do His will in the earth. Moreover, perceiving the point behind His stipulated “until,” will enable us to walk through a new door of end-time Passover empowerment.
Many have gained an in-depth understanding of the “Last Supper” after seeing it presented in light of the traditional Jewish Passover Seder. (1) This is even more true when the Seder is interpreted according to Messianic Jewish tradition (which is to interpret and modify basic Jewish tradition to reflect the truth of Messiah Yeshua).
However, we can add to, and even move beyond both of these beneficial illustrations. But first, to fully understand Passover, to enter into a more meaningful appreciation of the Feast, we need to see that, in Scripture, there are four types of Passover.
Also, to put Passover into proper perspective, we must realize that, when the Father promised the Israelites, “I will pass over you,” it was not an accomplished fact, but a living promise. It was a declaration that He would stand guard over, protect, and defend them. He would refuse the destroyer entry into their homes, causing the destruction to “skip,” or “pass,” over them.
Likewise, as Messiah’s followers, we need to see that Passover similarly represents His living promise to those who trust in and follow Him.
The traditional Jewish and the later Messianic Jewish Passover Seders, both can speak volumes to those who know the Messiah, or, Yeshua haMashiach.
For example, before the Feast, the mother cleans the home of all leaven. Then, the night before Passover eve, the family has a bedikat chametz, a search for leaven. After cleaning, the mother places small pieces of bread in key places in the house, and that night, the father leads the children in a candlelight search for the leftover chametz. When the children find the leaven, the father, feather in hand, brushes the crumbs onto a wooden spoon or paper plate—all of which (feather, container and crumbs) is wrapped up to be burned next morning.
Among other things, this family practice can well serve to teach Messianic followers the basic truth that, leaven represents sin, and the “temples” in which we live also need cleansing from all sin (Exodus 12:15,19; 13:7; Luke 12:1; 13:21; 1 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Peter 2:5).
Moreover, the traditional Seder includes three pieces of “striped and pierced” matzah, or unleavened bread. Unleavened bread is used because our ancestors did not have time to wait for the bread to rise in their sudden departure for the desert. Because it is thought to be all they had to eat, it is often called poor man’s bread, or bread of affliction.
Concerning the Passover matzah, many in Messianic Judaism teach that the “three” required matzah speak of Father, Son and Holy Spirit—that the “unleavened” bread speaks of sinlessness—and that “striped and pierced” bread depicts the One who brought us healing by His stripes, He who was wounded for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). However, among our “traditional” Jewish people, there are different reasons given for having three matzah present at the Seder. For example, some teach that two loaves are normally present on the Sabbath eve table, and, the third loaf is added as a reminder of the joyous nature of this “Festival of Freedom.” According to others, they represent the three groups of people found in traditional Jewish religious life: Priests, Levites, and Israelites. Still others say there are three because Abraham asked Sarah to make “three measures of fine meal” for their Heavenly guests (Genesis 18:6).
The historical reason behind “striped and pierced” matzah is found in that, initially, all matzah was handmade, and, being rolled out dough, it was naturally circular in form. To keep the dough from rising, perforations were made in it, allowing for the escape of air. Ultimately, these perforations often were made in very artistic form, thus taking a long time to complete. For this reason, to keep the people’s matzah from rising, and thus not meeting the “unleavened” requirement, this art form was banned by the rabbis. They decreed that the matzah process, from kneading to baking, must be executed within eighteen minutes.
Then, with progress being what it is, in England, in 1875, a speedy matzah baking machine was invented. And so, began our era of “striped and pierced” square matzot. (2)
Regardless of the facts, perhaps the real reason for the matzah number and form is because the Father wants that representative number used, and He wants it “pierced.”
Returning to our Jewish Seders, we note that in them, the middle matzah is broken in half, and the second half, called the afikomen, a Greek word meaning, He shall come again, (3) is hidden away until the end of the meal.
For Messianic Believers, the afikomen well typifies our Messiah, who promised, “I will come again” (John 14:3).
During the traditional Seder meal, four cups of wine are offered, and, many Messianic Jews believe that, in the Upper Room, and during the Last Supper, Messiah was following this rabbinic tradition; and, at the drinking of the third cup, which is called the Cup of Redemption, Yeshua said: “This is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:15-20).
So, goes the entire Seder celebration, overflowing with spiritual significance.
Beyond seeing the many truths in the Jewish Seder, to see the four Passovers as defined in Scripture is to see a picture of the Father’s ideal pattern of salvation for His children. For, upon seeing this Heavenly portrait, our understanding of Passover is enhanced—and we are greatly encouraged— for in it, we see ourselves in the middle of the Father’s present-day Passover plan.
Also, when we, as the people of Messianic Israel, see the four types of Passover in their on- going, living context, we realize that we have yet to experience the most glorious of all the Passovers. And that, we have much to do with the Father’s plan for final fulfillment of Passover.
The Family Passover
To begin, we note that, concerning the Hebrew month of Abib (which corresponds to March/April on the Gregorian calendar) our Father commanded, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you….for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.” And, “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to Yahveh your God, for in the month of Abib Yahveh your God brought you out of Egypt by night” (Exodus 12:2; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1).
We are to begin our calendar year with Passover—even as we begin our spiritual lives with redemption. The month of Passover marks our beginning.
Next, we note that, before the first Passover, our Father commanded: “On the tenth of this month let each one take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. If the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb…you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then…kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire…You shall not leave any of it over until morning, whatever is left of it you shall burn with fire. You shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is Yahveh’s Passover. For I will… strike down all the first- born in the land of Egypt…And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to Yahveh; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance” (Exodus 12:3-15).
Additionally, the God of Israel told our forefathers that they were to “diligently teach their sons” about all that He had commanded them; and that, when their sons asked the question, “What does this rite mean to you?”, they were to answer, with all diligence and patience, as men dedicated to the spiritual maturation of their children (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19; Exodus 12:26,42; 13:8,14).
The Holy One of Israel designated Passover as a time for:
The fathers to diligently teach their children
To sacrifice a lamb for their household
To put the blood on their doorposts
To have the families partake of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs in their respective homes.
The emphasis of this particular Passover is on that of the Godly “household,” for it was to “be eaten in a single house” (Exodus 12:46).
Thus, did Yahveh establish what we will call, the “Family Passover.”
The Congregational Passover
Later, our Father revised the Passover instructions, in that He moved its commemoration from the homes of our fore- fathers, to the Tabernacle—from their house to His house.
The essential command to “observe Passover” remained intact, but the Holy One made it absolutely clear that He had moved the location of that observance:
“Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to Yahveh your God, for in the month of Abib Yahveh your God brought you out of Egypt by night. You shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahveh your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahveh chooses to establish His name….You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns, but at the place where Yahveh your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt. Cook and eat it in the place which Yahveh your God chooses. In the morning you are to return to your tents. On the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to Yahveh your God; you shall do no work on it…Be careful to observe these statutes” (Deuteronomy 16:2-12).
Our Father instructed His children to sacrifice their lambs at twilight, and then to roast them. However, this allotted day of sacrifice was immediately followed by a seven-day period called, the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15-20).
For seven days leaven was not allowed in their territories. And, since the slaying of the lamb was immediately followed by the prohibition against leaven, this dual period ultimately became collectively known as, “Passover.”
Leaven speaks of sin, and the number seven speaks of “the spiritual values that were the purpose of Creation,” of “rest,” “spirituality,” and “perfection.” (3.5) Thus, we see in the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” a call to walk in sinless spirituality. We see the call, as the Apostle Paul ultimately would say, to “celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).
Returning to our “congregational” celebration, we note that it was commanded that it take place, in the Father’s house. There, His children were to partake of lamb and unleavened bread. He established this yearly celebration that it might serve them as a collective time of commemoration, reflection and remembrance.
Thus, did our Father establish the “Congregational Passover.”
The Personal Passover
Then once again, Passover instructions were modified. It happened when Messiah took the bread and wine into His hands, and said to His Apostles, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).
Yeshua “earnestly and intensely desired” (Amplified) to eat “this” particular Pesach meal with His disciples, because—it would prove to be a “Passover” meal unlike any other.
The Passover that Yeshua desired with desire to eat, would prove to be different. For, as Luke tells us, “When He had taken the cup and given thanks, Yeshua said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves.’ …And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me, [for] this is the new covenant in My blood’” (Luke 22:15-20).
Yeshua’s celebration of that particular Passover marked the end of the Old Covenant Passovers, and—the first and only New Covenant Passover. With His “once for all” sacrifice, we have no “need” for another (Hebrews 7:27). With it, no longer is the central focus the blood of a substitute animal, which only “covered” sin; rather, the focus became the pure and undefiled Blood of the Son of God, which remits, even annihilates sin. (4)
Through His death on the tree, Yeshua became our Passover Lamb. Thus, it is written: “Messiah, our Passover, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Regarding this Passover, the Apostle Paul explained: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim Yeshua’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
We want to proclaim His death, because in doing so, we are declaring that we belong to New Covenant Israel; and not to the world.
When we partake of Messiah’s Passover elements, we proclaim that He is our Passover; and so, the angel of the second death will “pass over” us in the final judgement —because we are sanctified by the Blood of the New Covenant Passover Lamb. Through it, we have an eternal sacrifice for our sins. Thus, we are the eternal Israel of the eternal God of Israel. (5)
With Yeshua’s Passover came a certain fulfillment of, and another modification in, the essential Passover ordinance. For, “when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.” In and through Yeshua, Israel’s priesthood was forever changed—from that of the Aaronic order, to that of Melchizedek. Forevermore, Messiah Yeshua is our eternal High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6; 7:12).
And, when Yeshua offered Himself on the Tree, the emphasis of Israel’s Passover celebration was moved to that of the New Covenant Passover Lamb.
Also, as our eternal High Priest, Yeshua instructed us to partake of “bread and wine.” For, unlike the old Passover sacrifice, His is not an annual sacrifice, but is an ever-present, ever- available sacrifice; and so includes elements from the proscribed daily offering: His Passover offering includes the elements of Bread and Wine. (6)
Yeshua also moved the emphasis of our search for sin (leaven) to the areas of the heart.
Thus, the Apostle Paul tells us to, “Clean out the old leaven of wickedness and malice from your hearts” (Matthew 15:18; 1 Corinthians 5:7).
We are thus instructed because Yeshua wants us to experience even more than the outward symbols of our faith, He also wants us to deal with our hearts.
“Behold, I stand at the door [of the heart] and knock,” Messiah says to us. And, “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
The Passover established by Messiah Yeshua is a personal Passover, for only the one on whose heart door Yeshua knocks, can open up and invite Him in for that special “supper.”
Thus, did Messiah establish the “Personal Passover.”
The Kingdom Passover
When Yeshua initiated the New Covenant Passover, He also told His disciples, “I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Also, when He had taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes “ (Luke 22:15-18).
In saying this, Yeshua was foretelling a coming, glorious, eternal Passover, one that will be celebrated in “the kingdom of God.” For there is a Passover that is yet to come. It is a glorious Passover that will take place at what is commonly known as, “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” And, “blessed are those who are invited to it” (Revelation 19:9). One day, the trumpet will sound, and we who are invited will put on our imperishable wedding garments. (7) For we have been invited to a transcendent celebration.
At that time, the believing family of Israel will again be “passed over.” As “overcomers,” the second death will not be able to harm us. Then, in utter jubilation, we will ask: “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55;Revelation 21:7).
As prophesied, Messiah will again take the cup into His hands—and perhaps, in honor of the rabbinic custom of His Jewish brothers, He will call it, the fourth Passover Cup, which cup is known as, the Cup of Praise.
Certainly, it would be an appropriate title, for, when Messiah lifts high that cup, Hallelujah’s that will ring for an eternity will begin—because death finally and forevermore will be swallowed up in victory. (8)
When we celebrate that Passover, then, we will know the full and eternal glory of the Kingdom Passover.
The Divided Kingdom
Scripture declares that we will celebrate this much longed for final Passover in “the kingdom of God.” However, the coming kingdom in which we will celebrate that Passover also is called “the Kingdom of Israel” (1 Chronicles 28:5). (9)
And presently, in many ways, that Israelite kingdom remains divided. For, while a certain “oneness” of all peoples has been imputed in and through Messiah (Ephesians 2:11-22), that reunion also must be implemented in the earth by His chosen people (1 Peter 1:1; 2:9). Restated, we must move beyond merely talking the talk, and begin collectively walking the walk (Mark 3:35).
Regarding His Israelites, the Father tells us that He allowed them to be divided into the two houses of Judah and Ephraim: “This thing is from Me,” He said (2 Chronicles 11:4).
Their division was from Him in that He would use “both the houses of Israel” (Isaiah 8:14) as His two witnesses. As the two branches in the olive tree that is “Israel,” He planned that they would witness to two truths:
Even so, historically, Judah has been the house of Israel that has tried to teach the world that the God of Israel has a Law, and Ephraim has tried to teach that by Grace we can be redeemed from the curse that comes from breaking that Law (Jeremiah 11:10,16; Zechariah 4:11-14; Revelation 11:3-4).
Moreover, our Father has not yet fully reunited His “two chosen families” (Jeremiah 33:24) (10) — because, His sons have not yet completed their mission as His two witnesses.
For, in Israel, the Father decreed that every matter is to “be confirmed in the mouth of two or more witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1). But, to date, Ephraim and Judah have primarily only opposed one another. Thus, they have not yet served their preordained purpose: that of confirming to the world the truth of the statements made by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.
These two Israel’s, once reunited and empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), ultimately will be used to fully confirm the truth of the Father’s Word in the earth. They will do so by walking even as Yeshua walked. For Yeshua kept all the Law, and yet, was Grace personified— which brings us back to Yeshua’s conditional Passover until—to the place wherein we need to see that, as yet, Ephraim has an important end-time job to do— a job that the Father long-ago assigned to him.
For, all Israel will not be able to celebrate the Kingdom Passover until all her guests receive, and respond to, their invitations. And, the Father has a predetermined plan as to how that must come to pass. Fulfillment of that plan requires certain actions on the part of the people of Ephraim Israel.
Ephraim: Scattered Until…
Long ago, “on a cloudy and gloomy day” (Ezekiel 34:12) the Shepherd God scattered the disobedient sheep of Ephraim Israel among the nations. There, being lost to their identity, they began to fulfill their divine destiny: they became a “melo goyim,” or “fullness of Gentiles” (Hosea 8:8; Amos 9:9; Genesis 48:19). (11)
Father God allowed the branch of the “olive tree of Israel” known as the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim, to be scattered among the nations
—there to become “degenerate” and “foreign.” Restated, those destined to become a “fullness of Gentiles” became “wild”— outwardly, they became as “Gentiles” (Jeremiah 11:10,16; 2:18,21; Romans 11).
So, it is that Israel was divided into two houses. So, it came to pass that, to this day there remains, a Jewish Israel, and a “Gentile” Israel.
And, of divided kingdoms, Messiah warns, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25).
At one time, in ancient Israel, “David [was] king over all Israel.” For “all Israel and Judah loved David” (1 Chronicles 12:38; 28:4; 1 Samuel 18:16). Under the rule of King David, Israel stood tall as a united people.
However, during the rule of David’s son, Solomon, sin entered into the camp, and thus, David’s kingdom was divided.
Even as Ahijah the prophet decreed, because of sin, ten of Israel’s tribes were given to Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:30-32).
Thus, was born the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim Israel.
But ultimately, these Ephraimites were scattered with an “east” wind—a wind that, fanned by their lust for paganism, drove them deep into “Gentile lands,” into the “west” (Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 18:17; Hosea 13:15; 11:10).
There, Ephraim was lost—his glorious Israelite heritage spent. There he languished, like the hungry prodigal, declining among the swine (Luke 15:11-32).
However, the Father decreed that, there, while lost in the west, Ephraim would come to a certain place of repentance.
Jeremiah spoke of a day wherein Ephraim would be “instructed.” That instruction would coincide with the lifting of the veil of Romans 11:25 from Ephraim’s Israelite eyes—and then— Ephraim would begin to see the truth of his own identity as a child of the Patriarchs, and in seeing that truth, he would be set free from his “Gentile” bondages.
The Holy One of Israel speaks of day when He hears “Ephraim grieving,” of a time when, in full repentance Ephraim cries out, ‘Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for Thou art the Lord my God. ‘For after I turned back, I repented; and after I was instructed [The Emphasized Bible says: after I came to know myself], I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth’” (Jeremiah 31:18,19).
Once Ephraim is “instructed”—to which cause the House of David is entirely dedicated—then, upon receiving that “instruction,” once more, “Ephraim will be like a mighty man.” Then, the Holy One “will whistle for them, to gather them together [with Judah]” Then, “Ephraim will come trembling from the west.” Then, they will return in great numbers, “until no room can be found for them” (Zechariah 10:7,8,10; Hosea 11:10).
But, until Ephraim is “instructed”—until he begins to “tremble” with the awesomeness of the truth about “all” Israel—until he is inspired into action because he has seen the Father’s wondrous latter-day plan for all Israel—until that day, in many ways, Israel remains divided.
David’s Booth has fallen. And, divided Israel cannot stand in her full, God-given stature until she is fully reunited.
Israel will not be complete until the “two sticks” spoken of by Ezekiel are made one in the Father’s hand. She will not be “sinless,” and “no more plucked up” from her promised land, until “all Israel” that is destined for salvation has come to Salvation—to Yeshua— until, collectively, they have “one King” ruling over them, that King being none other than Messiah Yeshua (Ezekiel 37:23,25-28).
Through the Prophets, our Father promised, “Behold, days are coming…when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first” (Jeremiah 30:3,33:7).
“It will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. Do not fear; let your hands be strong.” Therefore, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!….For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim…and I will make you like a warrior’s sword.” (Zechariah 8:13; 9:9-14).
In that day, “Yahveh will appear over them, and…will defend them….[and] save them in that day as the flock of His people; for they are as the stones of a crown, sparkling in His land…. ‘I will strengthen the house of Judah and save the house of Joseph ….They will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am Yahveh their God and I will answer them. The Ephraimites will become like mighty men, and their hearts will be glad as with wine. Their children will see it and be joyful; their hearts will rejoice in Yahveh. I will signal for them and gather them in. Surely, I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before. Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive and will return. I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon, and there will not be room enough for them’” (Zechariah 9:15-17; 10:3-10).
Israel will not be fully restored until there is “no more sin” found among Ephraim and Judah—until both “forget the ark”—until both call Jerusalem, “The Throne of Yahveh” (Jeremiah 3:14-18; 50:4-5,20).
As stated in the beginning, we need to fully understand Messiah’s conditional Passover clause, because final fulfillment of Passover hinges on it. And, the until clause that we need to understand is—until the kingdom is restored. And, the kingdom that needs to be “restored,” is that of the scattered tribes of Jacob (Isaiah 49:1,3,6-8).
In First-Century Israel, it was well understood that a major portion of the people of Israel had been scattered among the nations (John 7:35).
In his book, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, the renowned present-day theologian, Alfred Edersheim, speaks of these “lost” tribes, calling them, “Those wanderers of the ten tribes, whose trackless footsteps seem as mysterious as their after-fate.”
Edersheim also says, the First Century Jewish historian, Josephus, “Describes them as an innumerable multitude, and vaguely locates them beyond the Euphrates.” And that, “The Mishnah is silent as to their seats, but discusses their restoration.” Edersheim also tells us of, “Jewish notices [that] connect the final discovery and the return of the ‘lost tribes’ with their conversion under that second Messiah… styled the ‘Son of Joseph.’”
Further, in his study of Rabbinical thought concerning the “lost tribes,” Edersheim writes: “Such mixture with, and lapse into, Gentile nationalities seems to have been before the minds of those Rabbis who ordered that, if at present a non-Jew weds a Jewess, such a union was to be respected, since the stranger might be a descendant of the ten tribes (Yebam 16b)” [Yebam is from the Talmud].
In addition, this Jewish scholar points out that, “The great mass of the ten tribes was in the days of Christ, as in our own, lost to the Hebrew nation.” And that a certain, “Rabbi Eliezer seems to connect their return with the dawn of the new Messianic day.”
Again, during the first Century, in “Jewish Israel,” it was commonly understood that, those of Ephraim Israel had been scattered among the nations, and were therefore “lost.”
Thus, we see that, during the time of the Apostles, and after they had seen the Ruach HaKodesh being poured out on “the Gentiles,” then, at the Jerusalem Council, the Apostle James said, “Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things” (Acts 2:17,39; 15:7-8,14-17).
The Prophets had foretold that the “Shepherd God” ultimately would come and regather His scattered sheep, and thus would restore the united Kingdom of Israel.
Then, the Kingdom of Israel would again be glorious, even as it had been under King David’s reign.(12) Thus, the gathering of “Gentiles” occurring before their very eyes, was seen by the Apostles as being a fulfillment of the Father’s promise to “restore the kingdom to Israel.”
Let us remember a salient point: the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was so important to the Apostle’s, that, it was the last point about which they questioned the Master before He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:8).
Likewise, restoration of that kingdom should be of the utmost importance to Ephraim Israel—for, he has a vital role to play in that restoration.
Secondly, the Apostle’s would have seen the “Gentiles” coming to Messiah as fulfillment of prophecy because, Messiah Yeshua, He being the “Shepherd God,” had earlier said to them, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:16).
These “other” sheep would “hear His voice” in that, Yeshua said to the Father concerning His Apostles, “I have given them Your word…. [and] My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me….May they be brought to complete unity” (John 17:14,19,21- 23).
Shema Yisrael: One God—One People
The Father’s plan of salvation was, and still is, that the people of Israel should be made “one.” For, the “One” God has one people, and that people is called, “Israel.”
Moreover, the door to the commonwealth of Israel was never closed by the Almighty. It was always open to whosoever would hear and obey: “If a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to Yahveh, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it” (Exodus 12:48). For, “There shall be one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land,” the Father commanded. He even forbid “the foreigner who has joined himself to Yahveh” from saying, “Yahveh will surely separate me from His people” (Numbers 9:14; Isaiah 56:3).
The Apostle Paul explains that the door to the common-wealth of Israel has traditionally been closed by men with evil intent—by those who want others to “seek them,” by those who want other men to seek their approval, that they might rule over them (Matthew 23:15; Galatians 4:17).
In opposition to this errant attitude, Torah teaches that the door to citizenship in Israel must remain open to those who are obedient to the Father’s precepts. (13)
With this “one people” precept in mind, we now look to a statement made by our Messiah— one that has often been misunderstood—the one wherein He says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
Even though Yeshua said He came “only” for “the lost sheep of Israel,” still, He does not exclude anyone. For, the door of obedience that leads to “oneness” and citizenship in His Father’s Kingdom of Israel, is never closed.
With this understanding in mind, we now look to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. For, Paul said he was writing to, “former... Gentiles,” and, he told them that, once they “were” separate from Messiah,” and thus, “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel.” They were, “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world But now, in Messiah Yeshua, you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah….So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:11-22).
The “one” God has “one” people. However, that one people can live their lives in a great variety of “testimonies” as the people of Israel. For, as Paul explains, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29).
Paul said this because, when Moses came down off the mountain, he declared, “I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse” (Deuteronomy 11:26).
And, Moses said this because—the Israelites had been “chosen ”
And that means, regardless of their individual response to the Father’s call to obey His Loving Instructions (Law), they had a perpetual call to be His “witness.” Whether they were a witness that was being “blessed” or one that was being “cursed,” either way, they were a “chosen” “witness” (Deuteronomy 7:6-7; 11:27-28; 14:2; Isaiah 44:8).
Thus Paul rightly concluded that, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
The Irrevocable Call on the Lives of the
Realizing that Paul understood the “irrevocable call” the Father had on the lives of all the Israelites—which perpetual call had to include the scattered Ephraimites—we now note that, Paul also wrote to the ekklesia, or “church,” at Thessalonica.
To those “brethren beloved by the Lord,” Paul said:
“God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.” Therefore, he encouraged these non-Jewish Believers to, “Stand firm” (2 Thessalonians 1:1,2:13).
From this verse, we can only conclude that, this Apostle who understood “God’s” “chosenness” of Israel, he believed the ekklesia to be included in that “choosing.”
Paul believed even as did the Apostle Peter. For, Peter said he was writing to, “Those who reside as aliens,” to those who were “scattered.” And yet, Peter declares of these scattered ones, “You are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
To these scattered “aliens,” Peter was inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh to declare, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”(1 Peter 1:1-2; 2:9).
Moreover, Peter says of these “chosen” ones, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).
Of whom does Peter speak?
The New International Version Study Bible footnote says: “In Hosea it is Israel who is not God’s people; in Romans it is the Gentiles to whom Paul applies Hosea’s words; in 1 Peter the words are applied to both.”(14)
It is applied to both because they are one and the same: for, Ephraim/Israel was among the Gentiles, as “Lo-Ammi,” or “Not A People” (Hosea 1-2).
But, it was promised that he would be gathered “from” there. And once regathered, Ephraim would be, “Ammi—A People,” specifically, they would become, “Sons of the Living God”—a title long ago claimed by “Gentile Israel” (Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:26; Ezekiel 37:21).
It Is Not As We Have Been Taught
Christianity has been taught that they will first be “raptured” out of this old world, and then, after a horrible period of tribulation, those of Jewish Israel will see Messiah, and then, they will believe in Him.
But, in contradistinction to this insensitive teaching, (15) Yeshua said of Judah and Jerusalem: “You will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:39).
To be accepted by Messiah upon His return, Judah first must believe in Him. They must say,
“Baruch haShem haba: Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord”—for only then will they see Him. Jewish Israel will have to be blessing the One who is coming—before He comes.
That is the Divine Passover/Salvation plan for all Israel: Judah and Ephraim.
Long ago, the Father determined that Salvation (Yeshua) would be presented to those of Jewish Israel because—finally, Ephraim will fulfill his prophesied directive.
Repentance must come to Ephraim. He must change. For the Father long ago ordained that Ephraim would be used to provoke Judah to jealously (Romans 11:11). It is Ephraim who must bring those of Judah to a place of faith in Messiah.
Judah and Ephraim must first be following Messiah, and then He will come—in their defense:
“‘Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time….Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 33:14-16).
Yahveh will protect Ephraim and Judah. Yeshua’s foot will set down on the Mount of Olives. He will return to a people who want Him to reign over them (Zechariah 14:4).
The Father’s Plan For Judah’s Redemption
After explaining the “mystery” of the olive tree, Paul concludes with the words, “And thus all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:17,24-26).
We cannot take this verse to mean that “everyone” who is a physical descendant of Israel “will be saved,” because elsewhere Paul says, “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Romans 9:6).
Paul is saying, “In this manner,” will salvation come to the faithful of the divided olive tree/house of Israel.(16) Thus, the mystery/metaphor being addressed in Romans Eleven is, the Father’s plan of salvation for all Israel: Judah and Ephraim.
And the plan is, those who became “wild” provoke those of Judah to jealousy. For, the job of bringing Judah to a place of faith in Messiah, was long-ago assigned to Ephraim Israel.
The House of David Job Assignment
Presently, at House of David, we see the job of those of Messianic Israel as being:
To “instruct” Ephraim, thus bringing him to a place of “repentance”
To help lift the “veil” from his blinded Israelite eyes, that he might cease to be jealous of Judah
To encourage Ephraim to be like his forefather, Joseph, who was a source of provision and protection for those of Israel.
For, when Judah sees this change in Ephraim, he will cease to “vex and harass” him (Isaiah 11:13). Then, he will embrace Ephraim, as well as Messiah Yeshua.
Thus, will Ephraim Israel fulfill his Divine Mandate:
Finally, he will provoke Judah to jealousy. He will make those of Jewish Israel want what he has. And thus, “will all Israel that is destined for salvation come to Salvation (Romans 11:26).
However, to accomplish this enormous task, Ephraim must begin at the beginning: he must begin with Passover. And, with that beginning, the people of Ephraim must realize some essential truths:
First, the Father’s mercies are “new every morning.” He is always doing “a new thing in the earth” (Lamentations 3:23; Jeremiah 31:22). Secondly, the “new thing” that He would do in this last day is to “instruct” Ephraim, that his “knowledge might increase,” that he might better understand the mysteries concealed in the Father’s book (Daniel 12:4). Lastly, the Ephraimites need to see that it was always intended that he should be, as Hosea says, “A watchman with my God, a prophet.” Long ago, it was determined that in Israel, Ephraim would be the one called to “foretell” that which the God of Israel was doing in the earth. However, Ephraim fell into sin, and so it was written of him, “Yet the snare of a bird catcher is in all his ways.” Because he was flighty, they went into “deep depravity” (Hosea 9:8-10).
In this last day, as the Northern Kingdom prodigal seeks to return home to his Father, he needs to take a new, fresh look at the Feasts of Israel. For, Ephraim has not been celebrating his Israelite heritage while wallowing in the foreign mire of his dispersion. And, in his return to his “Israelite” heritage, he should not begin to blindly follow “Jewish” tradition. For, even as Ephraim has in many ways distorted the truth of Scripture, so has Judah twisted and distorted certain truths.
Also, Ephraim must realize the truth that he will not make Judah jealous by becoming “Jewish.” For there are some very “Jewish” Jews, and Ephraim cannot be more “Jewish” than are they.
Moreover, if being “Jewish” were the answer, then the problem would already have been solved. But the problem that exists between the two houses has not yet been solved.
Likewise, neither is converting Judah to our present-day “Greek, Westernized cultural Christianity” the answer.
Instead, the answer lies in having those of Ephraim Israel take a fresh, Ruach HaKodesh inspired, look at Torah, and at the Feasts of Israel. For then, in and through them, the Father will do a new thing.
1 Seder means “order of service.”
2 See The Jewish Book of Why, by Alfred J Kolatch, Matzah, page 192.
3 See, The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet, by Rabbis Scherman and Zolowitz, from the ArtScroll Mesorah Series.
3.5 Some say it means “that which come last,” likening it to “dessert,” the afikomen being the last thing tasted at the Seder.
4 Acts 20:28 speaks of “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Therefore, it was “God[’s]…blood.” See 1 Pet. 1:19; Heb 9:14
5 Eph 2:13-14; Col 1:20; Luke 22:16; Rom 5:9; Eph 1:7-14; Heb 9:12,15,26; 13:11-12,20; Gal 6:16.
6 See Heb 7:27; 9:12; 10:10; 1 Pet. 3:18; Exo 29:40-42; Num 15:1-13; 28:5-7, and the book, Passover Before Messiah and After, by Broadhurst.
7 See 1 Cor. 15:51-57; Mat 22:1-14; Hos 13:14; Rev 19:7-9
8 Rev 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8; Hos 13:14; 1 Cor 15:55.
9 The one Kingdom of Israel: See 1 Chr. 14:2; 17:14; 28:5; 29:23; 2 Chr. 9:8; 13:5,8; Isa 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Eph 5:5; Heb 1:3; 3:6; 8:1; 10:12; 1 Pet 1:1; 2:9.
10 Proof texts that they are not reunited: Isa 11:13-14; Jer 3:16-18; 9:7; 31:31-33; 50:4-5,20; Zech 8:3,7,13; 9:13,16; 13:9; Hos 1:10,11; Ezek 10:5-6; 14:3,9; 37:22-26; Dan 11:35; Mal 3:3.
11 The ArtScroll Tanach Series says 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, Vol 6, page 2121; also see Strong’s Concordance, words # 4393 and 1471.
12 See 2 Sam 7:11-16; Ps 89:35-49; Isa 9:6,7; Jer 33:24-26; 31-33; Zec 13:8-9; Matt 1:20-25; Lu 1:31-33,69,70.
13 One people: See Exo 12:48-49; Lev 19:34; 24:22; Num 9:14; 15:15-16,29; Ezek 47:22. Also see, Exo 12:19; 20:10; 22:21; 23:9,12; Lev 17:8,10,12; 18:26; 19:33; 20:2; 22:18; 24:16; 25:6; Num 15:30; 35:15; Josh 20:9; Psa 146:9; Mal 3:5.
14 See NIVSB, page 1890.
15 Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Chaim Richman of Jerusalem, tells us how Jewish people feel about this “Escapist Theology.” He says, “We do not appreciate the idea that Jews are to be left behind and slaughtered while Christians fly away to heaven” (See Orthodox Jews Want Temple Rebuilt, Charisma Magazine, June 1993). Also see the Herald, Rapture or Transformation? Escape or Victory?
16 See Strong’s word # G 3956: “manner of, means.”