[Editor’s Note: The recent passing of Angus Wootten has brought to remembrance the pioneering work he and his wife, Batya, accomplished in raising awareness among Christians of their identity as part of the Kingdom of Israel. The “Two House” understanding Angus taught explains how Jews and Christians (Judah and Ephraim) each play a part in the redemptive work of God’s covenant nations of Israel, and how that work will only be completed when Messiah Yeshua has returned as Messiah Son of David. In honor of Angus’ lifelong achievements, we present an article he published originally in 1992 in the House of David Herald.]

A Mandate for Ephraim

Angus Wootten

House of David Herald, vol 4-11, 1992

A common concern received at House of David is: ‘I have read In Search Of Israel, The Olive Tree Of Israel, and all issues of the Herald, and, I understand the teaching about the two houses of Israel – Ephraim and Judah. So, what do I do now?’

Answering the questions of ‘what do we do now’ and ‘where do we go from here’ was the prime focus of the recent United Israel 92 Conference in White Stone, Virginia, and, for an in-depth study of these questions, we encourage you to order the conference tapes.

Many are asking, “now that I understand that I am an Ephraimite what does God expect of me? What can I do about uniting Ephraim and Judah, the two houses of Israel?”

The key to answering these questions is found in understanding how God will reunite the two houses of Israel. The plan for reunification is outlined in Ezekiel’s prophecy about 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.[1] So, let us begin our search for answers by taking another look at this prophecy:

Ezekiel’s Vision of the Dry Bones, followed immediately by the Two Sticks prophecy, are the most graphic illustrations of God’s promised restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. In our day God has ‘taken’ Judah (the Jewish people) and identified him as a part of Israel, by reestablishing him in the land. (Ezekiel’s Vision, The Coloured Picture Bible for Children, available on Mannkind Perspectives.)

15 “The word of the Lord came again to me saying,

16 “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.’

17 Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.

18 And when the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?

19 say to them, ‘Thus says 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,””‘

In these verses God first tells Ezekiel to put the two sticks together. Then, in verse Nineteen, God is declaring that He will put them together and make them one in His hand.

The task that God 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. In verse Nineteen, the time comes for God to make the two sticks one. How does He say He will do that? In step one, the ‘Take Step,’ God takes the stick of Joseph, which is in the hands of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions. Note that God is doing what Ezekiel did. He is identifying in detail the stick of Ephraim, one of the two sticks. However, God does not ‘take’ or ‘identify’ Judah. God 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 God’s part? Or, will the joining (or putting) take place at a time when Judah has already been ‘taken’ and is readily identifiable? In our day God 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, in our day, the number of Ephraimites who understand their identity is extremely limited.

In Roman’s 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 we are also seeing a Jewish acceptance of Messiah unparalleled since the first century. However, in God’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 (Ezekiel 37:20-22).

Where Are We Today?

We are in the very early stage of God’s ‘taking’ and identifying the stick of Ephraim. For, it is time for him 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 God 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 God is summoning Ephraim. He is bringing him forth to receive instructions – instructions concerning God’s constitution of the united house of Israel.

Since God is summoning and identifying Ephraimites for the purpose of serving as His instruments in constituting a united house of Israel, it surely behooves us to correctly understand what God is expecting us to do individually and corporately. An important first step in gaining this understanding is discerning where we are in God’s program or timetable for restoring the Kingdom to Israel. God, while identifying Ephraim, must inform both sticks that, by themselves they are not, the entire Israel of God.

This is a big task, even for God, 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 has over 1,586 faiths,[2] many claiming to be the authentic representation of the Israel of God here on earth.

How is God 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 Ezekiel’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 God may fulfill this prophecy by looking at how God is fulfilling other like prophecies. The prophecy that immediately precedes the “two sticks,” is Ezekiel’s “vision of the valley of dry bones.” This prophecy, with Jeremiah’s, “I will restore the tents of Jacob”–Mark’s, “Fig Tree”–Joel’s, “The nations will divide God’s land–and, Isaiah’s, “A nation will be born in a day”–are prophecies we have, or we are seeing be fulfilled in our generation (Jeremiah 30:18; Mark 13:28; Joel 3:2; Isaiah 66:8).

True to His Word, God is beginning to restore the “tabernacle of David,” by first bringing Judah back to the land (Zechariah 12:7, Acts 15:16,17).He is accomplishing this restoration using a combination of the efforts of men, mixed with Divine intervention.

[1] Indeed, the unity of lsrael was never achieved in history except the relatively short period of David’s reign. In Solomon’s reign, the seeds of discord which led to the split in Rehoboam’s reign were already sown. Yechezkel, Volume II, page 575, The ArtScroll Tanach Series.

[2] The December 1988 edition of The Encyclopedia of American Religions lists 1,586 faiths in the United States alone.

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