[Editor’s note: Is the Kingdom of Heaven coming to earth, or is the Creator bringing all His people to Heaven? If we accept the testimony of John the Apostle, it would seen Heaven comes to earth:
“Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3 TLV)
If that is the case, then what does the Kingdom of Heaven on earth look like? How does it arrive? What, if anything, can we humans do to hasten its coming?
These are questions Angus Wootten pondered for much of his life. His conclusion was that the Kingdom of Israel, composed of the Jewish part (Judah) and the non-Jewish part (Ephraim) would be restored, with both houses reunited under the reign of Messiah Son of David.
In this article, first published in January 1996, Angus offered his observations on the process of Israel’s restoration. His assessment of contemporary developments gave him cause for concern, but also great reason to hope and work for the ultimate fulfillment of the Almighty’s promises. As for how God’s people can participate in the process, Angus offers a frank analysis and a practical challenge. How have things changed in the intervening 25 years? Perhaps this article will give you a lens through which to assess our present circumstances.]
The Messianic Vision
By Angus Wootten – January 1996
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Adonai [Lord], and of his Mashiach [Anointed One]; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
How does the Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, plan to accomplish this age ending event? How will He realize His Messianic Vision of manifesting His presence – in His earthly Kingdom – in the midst of a united people? To reach this goal it is obvious that one of His larger challenges is “uniting His people Israel.”
Let us examine this challenge as it currently exists. First and foremost we have the almost three-thousand year old division between the two houses of Israel: Judah and Ephraim, originally the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. This division is manifested in our day by the division between the Jewish people and Christians, or the Church. Additionally, we have the divisions that exist among each of the houses.
On one hand we have the Church divided by laws and opinions into a multitude of denominations and cults with a vast smorgasbord of theology and doctrines. These divisions are a result of generation after generation of forefathers, to some extent, forsaking the covenants of Yahveh, and following after other gods – the gods often being themselves or other men. For this reason, we have a multitude of divisions among a people who are blinded to their heritage and destiny.
On the other hand, we have the divisions among the Jewish people who are blinded to the identity of the Messiah of Israel. While their divisions are not as numerous as those among Ephraim, they currently tend to be deeper. The deepest rift is currently being manifested in the land of Israel between those who are supportive of the government policy of trading land for peace, and those who are adamantly against this sellout of their inheritance for what they see as a vain hope of a fragile and temporary peace.
One of the most telling examples of the divisions among the people of Israel is the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, at the hands of a fellow countryman, who claimed to be acting on orders from God. Accenting this division were two signs that hung from the eight-story apartment building where Rabin lived. One read: “No moving from the Golan.” The other read: “Peace is my security.” And on the day of Rabin’s funeral, along the highway traveled by the open-backed Army command car “carrying his coffin, religious Jews held out a sign with the biblical injunction: “Thou shalt not kill.” But spray painted on a nearby lamppost were the words: “Rabin is a traitor.”
The sign which read “Peace is my security” emphasizes the cause of division in the Jewish nation, because those who are against the “Peace Now” movement find it difficult to understand how anyone who has even a minimal comprehension of Scripture and the history of the nation of Israel could be supportive of a Government of Israel which supports the creation of a Philistine, or Palestinian State. Therefore, they conclude that those who support the so called “Peace Process,” which has split the nation, do not have even a minimal comprehension of Scripture and history. Or, they are willing to disregard it as payment for pleasure and satisfaction NOW!
That sign which hung from the eight-story apartment building where Rabin lived, which read: “Peace is my security,” typifies the attitude of those who seek satisfaction and gratification now, regardless of the future cost. These “Now” people have placed their faith and future security in a man-made peace process, and in the likes of Yaser Arafat and the PLO, rather than placing their faith and hopes in the Holy One of Israel and in His Word. This is true not only for the “Nows” among the Jewish people, but for the “Nows” among the Church, meaning those who place their faith and future in man’s ways, organizations and words, both secular and non-secular, rather than placing their faith and hopes for the future in Israel’s Holy One, and in His promises.
When we look at the countless divisions, we can see that Yahveh has a big job on His hands in meeting the formidable, if not impossible, challenge of healing the divisions that exist among His people. We can be thankful that “nothing will be impossible with Yahveh” (Luke 1:37). For we know that the Vision has its appointed time, at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry (Habakkuk 2:3).
A Common Denominator
How will Yahveh accomplish this awesome task of healing the divisions among His fractured people?
What we need to make a “whole nation” from the countless “fractions” of the people of Israel is, a common denominator. To add the fractions of 3/4 + 1/3 one must find a common denominator. Otherwise, the two cannot be added together and made one. First we must determine the lowest common denominator. The next step is to convert the denominators of the fractions we are adding to their common denominator. Then, it will also be necessary to change the numerator so the value of the fraction remains unchanged. We do this on the basis of equality – whatever we do to the denominator we do also to the numerator.
To determine the lowest common denominator in this case, we calculate the lowest whole number divisible by both 4 and 3. In this example, the lowest common denominator is 12.
In the case of the fraction 3/4, it is necessary to multiply the denominator 4, by 3, to obtain the common denominator of 12. Then, to preserve the value of the fraction we also multiply the numerator 3 by 3, thus obtaining a new numerator of 9. So, our new fraction is 9/12, which has the same value as the old fraction of 3/4.
We follow this same procedure with the fraction 1/3, multiplying both the numerator and the denominator by 4, and obtain a new fraction of 4/12. However, we can now add 9/12 and 4/12 together, and we obtain a product of 13/12, or expressed as a whole number: 1 and 1/12. In either case they are no longer two fractions, but now are one whole.
Applying this same concept to the fractured people of Israel is a little more difficult, because each fraction tends to see themselves as a whole. So, the first step for those among the Jewish and Christian peoples who have been given the unmerited grace to know, or even suspect, that they are part of the whole house of Israel, is to realize that they are a fraction and not a whole. No longer should they see themselves as Christians and Jews, but rather they must see themselves as Christian/Israelites and Jewish/Israelites, or Ephraim/Israel and Judah/Israel.
No longer should the Jewish people see themselves as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Messianic Jews, but rather they must see themselves as Orthodox Jewish Israelites, Conservative Jewish Israelites, Reform Jewish Israelites, and Messianic Jewish Israelites.
No longer should those Christians who have had the blindness to their heritage removed be satisfied with the label of a denomination. Those who do not feel comfortable with seeing themselves as Messianic Israelites, or Ephraim Israel, should at the very least see themselves as Catholic Israelites, Baptist Israelites, Assembly of God Israelites, or _________ Israelites.
And what will the end results be of adding 9/12 + 4/12? It will equal 13/12. The nine tribes (9/12) of Ephraim will be joined with the four tribes (4/12) of Judah to form the whole (13/12) house of Israel. (For the sake of this illustration only, we have considered that, for the most part the tribes of Reuben, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh were found among the Ephraimites, and that the tribes of Simeon [lost among Judah], Levi, Judah, and Benjamin were for the most part found among the Judahites.)
It is easy to see that the first task (hopefully, we each see it as our task) is to instruct those that the Holy One of Israel is calling through His Holy Spirit to an understanding of their heritage, of the fact that they are a fraction and not a whole entity. And, that they need to insure that their denominator is the common, and equal, denominator of being an Israelite.
Jeremiah shows us where to start:
I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, “Thou hast chastised (punished) me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for Thou art Yahveh, the Lord my God. For after I turned back, I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed, and also humiliated” (Jeremiah 31: 18,19).
People the world over are beginning to “smote” themselves on the thigh and say, “How could I have missed it?” or “Now I understand,” or, “now I see.”
For now is the time for the instruction of Ephraim, so that he can see how he missed it, and so that he can understand and be able to see!
Once we are instructed, we are then ready to follow in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul.
Paul, in Romans Eleven, saw that a combination of Jewish acceptance of Messiah, as well as the ingathering of the full number of Gentiles from among the nations, would herald this end-time kingdom. This Apostle to the nations was willing to pay the high price of his own salvation to gain the reward of a restored kingdom of Israel. His ministry to the “Gentiles,” or “wild olive branches” of Israel, had the added benefit of making the Jews jealous, that some of them might be saved. (See The Olive Tree of Israel.)
Paul wanted those of the “wild” side of the family tree of Israel (Jeremiah 11:10,16; 2:18,21; Romans 11), meaning the non-Jews who were being grafted into the “Rich Root” of the Olive Tree of Israel, which “Root is Yeshua (Revelation 22: 16) – as well as those Jewish branches that remained on Messiah’s tree – together, he wanted them to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, in the nineteen hundred years since Paul’s witness, both houses, one believing in a present Messiah and one in a future Messiah, have contributed to building walls of misunderstanding. One solid wall that has been built by the non-Jews is that of presenting a Greek/Romanized Christ in a paganized smorgasbord of theologies. This “Greek Jesus” is much more difficult for Jews to accept than is the “Hebrew Yeshua,” because this “Hebrew” image conforms more closely to their image of the Messiah.
So the plan is that Ephraim will begin by reuniting the remnant in his house, and then, and only then, can the reunification of both houses take place. As Ephraim searches for the truth of his roots he will receive back from his brother Judah many ancient truths about his heritage. He will then be better prepared to reach out to his brother in love and mercy. For it is only when both houses are treated with the dignity and equality that they rightfully deserve, that the true message of Messiah will be demonstrated in the earth
Loving Your Brother
The House of David Herald article, “Why Ephraim Should Know More About Judah,” outlined the basic foundation that Yahveh has laid to accomplish His ultimate goal of a united people, and it emphasized that knowing and loving your brother is a prerequisite to reuniting the whole house of Israel.
This article, leaned heavily on input from Yechiel Eckstein, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Founder and President of the International Fellowship Of Christians and Jews (The only Jewish organization [that we know of] that has the specific mission to encourage Christian and Jewish fellowship). Yechiel gave valuable insight into where Judah is at today, and how Judah sees Ephraim. Also, Yechiel evaluates Jewish attitudes toward Ephraimites, and some of the ways that Judah is reaching out to Ephraim. The article ends with the appeal:
Quite naturally, there are profound theological differences between the Believer and the Orthodox Jew. Nevertheless, like Yechiel and the eighty-six year old black Baptist minister from Virginia, we have much in common.
However, if we, as Ephraimites, are going to successfully lead the way in making the house of Judah and the house of Ephraim the united house of Israel, then we must concentrate on hearing our brother, and learning how to love him.
A Word To The Wise
In seeking to love the people of Judah, let us not add to the problem by mistreating the people of Ephraim. Let us be wise enough to treat both houses with absolute equity. Let us judge both peoples with righteous, absolutely equitable, judgement, for only then will they reunite.
How do Ephraimites successfully lead the way in making the house of Judah and the house of Ephraim the united house of Israel? As we pointed out, one of the keys to success is hearing our brother, and learning how to love him. And the way to accomplish this is by treating your brother with absolute equity. Treat him in the manner in which you would desire to be treated if roles were reversed.
Above all, remember that the removal of the partial hardening and blindness that has happened to Israel – Judah’s inability to recognize and accept his Messiah, and Ephraim’s inability to recognize and accept his heritage – which Paul states is a prerequisite for the return of the Deliverer who will remove ungodliness from Jacob, is the work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 11:25-26).
Hindsight is far clearer than foresight, so it is easy to outline what has happened in the past, and to list principles that must be followed to put the two houses back together. But what is the game plan for today? What is Yahveh going to do now? And, most important, how might He use us? The bottom line being, what does the Holy One of Israel expect of me! And, when all is said and done, and my earthly sojourn is completed – for what will I be held accountable?
These are a lot of questions to answer, and for the “Nows” they are questions that will never be seriously addressed. However, for those who following after the “Prophet likened unto Moses,” and in the footsteps of His disciples, they are questions we must each answer to the best of our ability. And, once we have received a response, we must follow through and do our individual parts to implement the game plan.
A Search For Answers
Where do we start in our search for answers? In the article “Why Ephraim Should Know More About Judah,” as we said earlier, we leaned quite heavily on input from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, so once again let us look to Yechiel’s insight by reading an excerpt from a letter from him to Batya and Angus Wootten:
I have such a high regard for you both and appreciate your ministry . . . Batya, in my opinion, you really make a very solid theological argument for the idea that the olive tree of Israel has two branches representing the two witnesses of Ephraim and Judah i.e. Christianity and Judaism. It is one I can essentially affirm though admittedly you have your hands full trying to convince Christians of that. Please do not hesitate to call if I can help you in any way. You are both on my heart and I pray for your success and well-being.
Yechiel’s statement, “that you will have your hands full trying to convince Christians of the truth that the olive tree of Israel has two branches representing the two witnesses of Ephraim and Judah i.e. Christianity and Judaism,” has proven to be accurate. Yet realizing that Ephraim has little hope of fulfilling one of his key mandates – to win his brother Judah by provoking him to jealousy (Romans 11:11) – until he realizes who he is, leads us to recall another of Yechiel’s nuggets of wisdom. And by the way, in the natural, it will take quite a bit of doing on Ephraim’s part to make a Judahite like Yechiel jealous of how he perceives the Christian’s relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In fact, some Christians who meet Yechiel quickly become jealous of the relationship that they perceive that he has with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So admittedly, Ephraim has quite a way to go before this situation is reversed.
Back to Yechiel’s nugget of wisdom: “It is not for me, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, to tell you Christians how to convert Jews, but if you have been doing something that has not worked for two-thousand years, then it is about time you tried something else.”
I do not believe anyone will argue with this bit of advice. If something does not work we should quit doing it and try something else.
Thomas Edison, in his efforts to develop an electric light bulb, had many attempts that failed. Had he kept on repeating a failed experiment he would never have come up with a successful light bulb. But, he kept moving forward, because he considered each of those failed attempts a success of sorts; because he learned from each failure, the primary lesson being what did not work.
So Ephraim’s starting point in his search for answers is to realize that he has not as yet developed a light bulb that works – he does not yet have a way to really provoke Judah to jealousy, that being, jealous to the extent that he wants to be reunited with his brother Ephraim.
Who Told You?
The second step we need to take in our reunion plan is to be sure that as we launch another experiment – hopefully Yahveh’s solution – that we are not building on a faulty foundation. Several years ago in the House of David Herald article, “Who Told You?” we pointed out: “We must be concerned about the consequences of being deceived by errors and misconceptions, for lies bring captivity and death, while truth brings freedom and life (John 8:2l,32,44; 2 Timothy 2:26). With such high stakes riding on what we believe, we must perpetually ask ourselves: Is what we believe true? Is the foundation on which we are building our understanding of Yahveh, and His people of Israel one of truthfulness?
In his book, Ten Philosophical Mistakes, Mortimer J. Adler, America’s foremost philosopher, explores the ten major errors in the development of modem thought, and he examines the serious consequences these errors have had in our everyday lives. He explains how the errors came about, and what we can do to avoid their snare. Adler takes on Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Hobbs, Marx, and a host of other post-16th-century thinkers, pointing out that: Their common and disastrous mistake was to invent new kinds of wisdom which was used to continue building on a faulty foundation. For, they all failed to go back to ground zero and to begin building on ancient and original truths!
In other words, the philosophers did not tear down the faulty structure far enough, they did not get to a solid foundation of original truth.
Adler begins his book by quoting a 4th Century B.C. observation made by Aristotle: “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Adler also paraphrases the words of Thomas Aquinas: “Little errors in the beginning lead to serious consequences in the end.” Adler himself says: “Instead of retracing the steps that lead back to the sources of the little errors, modem thinkers have tried in other ways to circumvent the result of the initial errors, often compounding the difficulties instead of overcoming them.”
Do Christian theologians suffer from the same disastrous mistake? Did they invent new kinds of wisdom not built on original truths? If so, do their errors compound our problems?
The answers call for a resounding, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” The Church has never recovered from its early doctrinal divisions and theological mistakes. Especially crippling are the mistakes made over the identity of Israel, for they blind us to a full understanding of Yahveh’s plan for the whole house of Israel.”
A Level Playing Field
So, in answering the all-important questions: “What is the game plan today? What is Yahveh going to do now? And, how might He use us? We need to go back to ground zero and to begin to build on original Scriptural truths! We must refrain from the temptation to continue building on foundations that do not have the ultimate goal of uniting the people of Israel, both Judah and Ephraim in complete equality. This includes organizations that, while they may have done, and may still be doing, good works, some even advancing the goal of improving the relationship between Judah and Ephraim, yet they do not provide the level playing field where each brother is treated with absolute equity. It is imperative that we have a playing field where there is only one set of weights and measures, where Scripture, and not tradition rules, and the Holy Spirit is given the opportunity to function freely.
There are many entities that have played important parts in this century towards the restoration of Judah. If it were not for the British Empire, the United States, and the United Nations there would not be a modem state of Israel. Yet, in the natural, these same entities could well be responsible for the downfall of the very nation that they helped to create.
Additionally, there are a potpourri of organizations whose philosophy and mission is to be a friend of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, such as the International Christian Embassy, Bridges for Peace. etc. These organizations have shown the nation of Israel and Jewish people that Christians can be friends and supporters, without having the hidden motive of conversion. They have definitely advanced the process of unity. However, these organizations do not openly accept the teaching of the two houses of Israel, so naturally they do not have an organizational goal of uniting both houses of Israel on a level playing field.
This is true even though there are individuals in these organizations who recognize the truth that there are two houses of Israel, and that the ultimate goal of the Father is to restore the Kingdom to Israel. However, were they to accept these truths on an organizational basis they would at this stage of the game jeopardize their relationship with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. So, these organizations, in their present form, and with their present goals, cannot provide the playing field on which the reunion can be accomplished.
We also are forced to rule out the vast array of “Christian” denominations and churches as being a level playing field because unity to them is others accepting their man made membership requirements, and if Israel plays any part in their theology it is for the most part only on a spiritual basis.
Prescription For Reunion
How the Holy One of Israel plans to make His Messianic Vision a reality is outlined in Ezekiel’s prophecy about uniting the two sticks. Since the unity of Israel was only achieved during the short period of David’s reign, we know that its fulfillment is yet future. So, to understand the Reunion Game Plan let us carefully examine this prophecy:
The word of the Lord came again to me saying, “And you son of man take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions;’ then take another stick and write on it, ‘for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel his companions.’ Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. And when the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says Yahveh, the Lord God, Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in my hand’” (Ezekiel 37: 15-19)
In these verses Yahveh first tells Ezekiel to put the two sticks together. Then Yahveh declares that He will put them together and make them one in His hand.
The task that Yahveh outlines for Ezekiel is divided into three steps.
- Step one is the “Take Step.” Ezekiel is instructed to “take” two sticks and prepare them to be joined. This preparation consists of identifying each stick.
- Step two is the “Put Step.” Ezekiel is to “put” the two sticks together in his hand in such a way as to make them one.
- The third step is the “Instruction Step.” Ezekiel is told to “explain” to the people the meaning of preparing and joining the two sticks.
Then the time comes for Yahveh to make the two sticks one. How does He say He will do that?
In His step one, the “Take Step,” Yahveh takes the stick of Joseph, which is in the hands of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions. Note that Yahveh is doing what Ezekiel did. He is identifying in detail the stick of Ephraim, one of the two sticks. However, Yahveh does not “take” or “identify” Judah. Yahveh simply moves to step two, the “Put Step.” He “puts” the stick of Ephraim, which He has just “taken” and “identified,” with the stick of Judah.
Was the failure to take, or identify, Judah an oversight on Yahveh’s pan? Or, will the joining (or putting) take place at a time when Judah has already been “taken” and is readily identifiable? In our day Yahveh has “taken” Judah and identified him as a part of Israel, by reestablishing him in the land.
Therefore, the stick that needs to be “taken” and “identified” before the “putting” can take place is the stick of Ephraim. And, currently the number of Ephramiites who understand their identity is extremely limited.
In Romans 11:25 Paul explains that a “partial blindness or hardening happened to Israel.” For Ephraim, this hardness included blindness to his roots. For Judah it was blindness to the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah. But, just as we are seeing the blinders come off Ephraim’s eyes, so we are also seeing a Jewish acceptance of Messiah unparalleled since the first century. However, in Yahveh’s schedule, the joining of the two houses into a single nation takes place before the Greater Son of David is recognized by all Israel as their King.
Where Are We Today?
We are in the very early stage of Yahveh’s “taking” and identifying the stick of Ephraim. For, it is time for Ephraim to see the truth of his identity as the other house of Israel (Jeremiah 31:18-19). A more complete understanding of Ezekiel 37:19 confirms that is where we are today. The Hebrew word laqah, which is translated take, could also be translated select or summon. The Hebrew word natan, which is translated put, could very well be translated make or constitute. These alternate translations more accurately portray what Yahveh is saying in verse Nineteen:
Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will summon the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and with the stick of Judah, I will constitute one stick, and they will be one in my hand.”
This more accurate translation is far more revealing and descriptive. It shows us that Yahveh is summoning Ephraim. He is bringing him forth to receive instructions – Instructions concerning Yahveh’s reconstitution of the united house of Israel.
Since Yahveh is summoning and identifying the Ephraimites, for the purpose of serving as His instruments in reconstituting a united house of Israel, it surely behooves us to correctly understand what Yahveh is expecting us to do individually and corporately. And, an important first step in gaining this understanding is discerning where we are in Yahveh’s program or timetable for restoring the Kingdom to Israel.
Yahveh, while identifying Ephraim, must inform both sticks that, by themselves they are not the entire Israel of Yahveh. This is a big task, even for Yahveh. The Jewish people have no doubts at all that they, and they alone, are the only inheritors of the promises of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. On the other hand, the Church is split into some 5,000 denominations and cults (that number representing only the tip of this iceberg) with many claiming to be the authentic representation of the Israel of Yahveh here on earth.
How is Yahveh going to overcome these mind sets?
Like other prophecies, it will be far easier to look back at the fulfillment than to look ahead. Since EzekieI’s prophecy about the two sticks remains unfulfilled, we have no choice but to look ahead. However, we can get some insight as to how Yahveh may fulfill this prophecy by looking at how Yahveh is fulfilling other like, or similar, prophecies.
The prophecy that immediately precedes the “two sticks,” is Ezekiel’s “vision of the valley of dry bones.” This prophecy, along with Jeremiah’s, “I will restore the tents of Jacob,” Mark’s, “Fig Tree,” and Joel’s, “The nations will divide Yahveh’s land,” and, Isaiah’s, “A nation will be born in a day,” and “I will deliver and protect Jerusalem,” and Zechariah’s, “I will bring up the tents of Judah first,” – are prophecies we have seen, or we are seeing, fulﬁlled in this century (Jeremiah 30:18; Mark 13:28; Joel 3:2; Isaiah 31:5, 66:8; Zechariah 12:7).
Efforts Of Men Mixed With Divine Intervention
True to His Word, Yahveh is beginning to restore the “Tabernacle of David,” by fulfilling these prophecies, using a combination of the efforts of men, mixed with Divine intervention. Space limitations do not allow us to include the fascinating accounts of how these prophecies were fulfilled. However, the account was given several years ago in the House of David Herald article, “Mandate for Ephraim,” which is still available.
This encouraging article depicts just how Yahveh mixed man’s efforts and divine intervention to accomplish His promise. It shows how the Holy One of Israel performed His word with an uncanny exactness. And, while He made it clear that it was His hand giving victory, He had used men in accomplishing His objectives. Just as He did with Moses at the Red Sea, Joshua at the Jordan and Jericho, and Gideon in his battle with Midian, etc., etc.
Scripture and history are clear. Yahveh works with man in fulfilling biblical prophecy!
Seeing how Yahveh has worked through men in the past to fulfill prophecy certainly is indicative of how He may well use men to fulfill those remaining prophecies that will result in reunion of both the houses of Israel, the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, and thus the fulfillment of His Messianic Vision.
What Can We Do?
What can each of us do to help? Like a good military tactician, let us review Yeshua’s strategy: Starting with the small group of disciples given to Him by the Father, Yeshua set in motion a four part plan that would gather the lost sheep of Israel from among the nations, and thus unify the divided and scattered house of Israel.
- Phase I: Recruitment. Starting in Jerusalem, then in all Judea, Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth, Yeshua’s followers were to accomplish the ingathering of the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Acts 1:8). Activities that fall in this phase include: Witnessing, world missions, revivals, evangelistic materials and media, and all forms of evangelization to bring lost sheep to the Messiah.
- Phase II: Training. Yeshua’s instructions were to make disciples of those that were gathered to Him (Matthew 28:19). Activities that fall in this phase include: Prayer, fellowship, biblical schools, Bible studies, conferences and seminars, educational materials and media, and all forms of discipleship instructions.
- Phase III: Maintenance. Yeshua said, “Tend My lambs and feed my sheep,” and, “occupy until I come” (John 21:15-17; Luke 19:13). Activities in this phase include: Prayer, fellowship, and all activities listed in Phase II that involve maintaining discipleship proﬁciency. Also included in this phase is material maintenance: Maintaining the ekklesia (See the House of David Herald Article, “The Call Of The Ekklesia” by David Hargis), and para-ekklesia facilities and personnel, feeding and caring for those in need, healing, and all forms of preservation and substance activities.
- Phase IV: Mission Accomplishment. Yeshua asked of His Father that His sheep would be one, even as He and the Father were one. He also said that oneness would herald the revelation of the sons of God, and the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel (John 17:21; Romans 8:19-23; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Isaiah 11:11-14). Activities that fall in this phase: Fulfillment of yet unfulfilled prophecy – especially regarding reuniting the divided house of Israel. Key Tasks: Identify Ephraim, encouraging him to repent of the deeds of his youth (paganism), stimulating dramatic changes in Ephraim, aspiring him to personal holiness, and encouraging reunion with Judah (Jeremiah 31:19; Isaiah 11:13-14; 27:9).
The accomplishment of all four Phases is necessary to realize a united Israel. An army cannot fight and win a battle unless soldiers are recruited, trained, and maintained. However, if we never get beyond recruiting, training and maintenance, we will never see the mighty army of Ephraim and Judah swooping down on their enemies and ushering in the Messianic Kingdom (Isaiah 11:14).
The organized Church has been a fantastic recruiter, a fair trainer, a poor maintainer, and has virtually ignored mission accomplishment! The truth of this statement is well illustrated by the following excerpts form the June 12, 1995 issue of the National & International Religion Report:
House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s plan to use churches and other charities to compensate for budget cuts to social services will put too large a stain on their resources, ministry representatives say. To make up for the $60 billion in cuts proposed in the House-approved Personal Responsibility Act alone, each of America’s 350,000 churches would have to raise an additional $190,000 over the next five years….Gingrich has suggested that every church and synagogue in the country can adopt a homeless person for six months….Dismantling America’s welfare system and relying solely on charities and volunteers would cause “a disaster of a large magnitude”….Christian groups helping the poor have more long-term success than the government because the gospel “changes lives,”…The nations’ 250 rescue missions served 75,000 meals a day, provided 24,800 beds per night, and gave 13,700,000 articles of clothing last year.
What would happen if the members of those 350,000 churches tithed, and depended on Yahveh to support the tasks He has given them to do? An additional thought: With 350,000 churches and 250 rescue missions, a ratio of 1,400 churches to one rescue mission – maybe the problem is too many churches and not enough rescue missions.
So, what are “the shepherds” going to do with their responsibility to “Tend My lambs and feed my sheep”? (John 21:15-17). It is a responsibility that not only has Yahveh given them, but one that the government also would like for them to assume.
What is the Church’s answer? According to the same report, nearly 4,000 of the world’s evangelical leaders have pledged to aggressively take on new challenges and opportunities to evangelize mankind. In their recent meeting in May, in Seoul, South Korea, at the Global Consultation On World Evangelism ‘95, they affirmed the ambitious goal of establishing a church-planting movement among every people group in the world (10,500 people groups remain to be reached) by the turn of the century:
The massive scope of the task energized and unified delegates. “We came together around a vision created in us by the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations,” said Robert Coleman of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, reading from the conference declaration. “This is the time for which we were born.” Coleman began to tremble with emotion, and the entire gathering “went wild” in a spontaneous response…
Earlier I said that the organized Church has been a fantastic recruiter, but after seeing that 10,500 people groups have yet to be reached, I believe that rating must be down-graded to fair or poor.
Years ago I was a Deacon in a small church, which like all churches saw its prime mission as “saving” the local populace. And, the Pastor was emphatic that every member should be out knocking on doors and passing out tracts on the streets. My council was, “Pastor, what we need to do is change the lives of those members we already have. We need to enable our current members to establish the relationship with Yeshua, and each other, that Yeshua had with the Father. If we did that, we would be fulfilling Yeshua’s prayer: ‘I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me’ (John 17:23).”
I went on to point out to the Pastor that, “If we began to accomplish this type of change, in even some of our members, we would not be able to keep people out. However, if we did not change lives, we would not be able to keep even our present members in.” The change that must happen in people’s lives to answer Yeshua’s prayer does not automatically happen when one raises their hand signaling repentance for their sins and acceptance of Yeshua as their Messiah (procedure in many churches) and starts on the long trek of working out their salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). A trek that is going to require adequate training and maintenance along the way, if it is going to be successful.
And we need to recognize that the complete salvation experience encompasses job accomplishment. Let us, when our hour has come, be able to say as Yeshua did, “Father, I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:4-5).
Those whom the Father will use to accomplish His Messianic Vision will be a people who will not only make “Mission Accomplislnnent” a priority. But they will be fantastic recruiters, fantastic trainers, and fantastic maintainers, and thus will accomplish their mission. In the past, ignoring mission accomplishment may have been partially due to Yahveh’s timing. However, in our day we need to change our focus because ours may be the generation that will end the two-thousand year long relay race by carrying the baton across the finish line!
If Not Us, Then Who? If Not Now, Then When?
Are we that people? If the Lord expects us to include “mission accomplishment” in our efforts to “be about our Father’s business,” what are we doing about it?
Rich or poor, young or old we all have the same number of hours in our week. And, judgement is not based on whether we have a rich man’s gold, or a widow’s mite, but it is based on what we do with our resources! Let not our judgement be that spoken over the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:15-16): “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Rather, let our judgement be that of Matthew 25:34: “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
We must keep our focus on the fact that Yahveh’s ultimate plan is to bring Heaven to His people on earth. It is not to bring His people on earth to His Kingdom in Heaven. Further, we are not to be a people who are “of this world.” Instead, our treasures and our hope are in the Kingdom to come. And therefore, we should devote a significant portion of our time, effort and resources to the return of the Lord and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
The rewards of an overcomer will not go to the lukewarm, nor to those so wrapped up in the affairs of this world that they become part of it. Rather, the overcomers will be those who are on ﬁre to serve the Holy One of Israel. It is for each of us, great or small, young or old, rich or poor, man or woman, to be zealous for Him, to be alert to His return, and open to the opportunities that He gives each of us to serve His purposes.
May each of us make full use of the talents given us by the Holy One of Israel, and take full advantage of the opportunities He gives to us to use them!