I first met Angus Wootten along with his wife Batya when they visited our community in the Utah west desert in 1989. Batya had written a couple of books, The Olive Tree of Israel and In Search of Israel, which piqued my Dad’s interest. He invited them to our celebration of Pesach in 1989 and a long and wonderful friendship was born.
Angus attacked life with energy and gusto. He loved our home-grown Red Pontiac potatoes and instantly began to formulate plans for us to grow them and export them around the country. His zest for life infected everything he did. He served for many years in the US Armed Forces and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
While in the Armed Forces he served in Korea. While flying to Seoul for some R&R their plane suddenly developed engine trouble. Undaunted, Angus donned his parachute and jumped out of the plane. After a harrowing descent and a hazardous trip through the unfamiliar countryside, he finally made it to Seoul. There he found out his buddies had played a practical joke on him—there was nothing wrong with the plane and he was the only one who had jumped.
Angus and Batya are in many ways the father and mother of the Two House Movement. When Batya began to see the importance of Israel in Biblical prophecy she realized that Israel is composed of two houses with a common destiny but two separate paths to that destiny. Together with others they founded Messianic Israel Alliance which later became the Alliance of Redeemed Israel. Sadly they lost many friends over this revolutionary understanding and became the target of malicious rumors and slander. Neither ever returned the evil poured out upon them and they have remained faithful to this day.
Angus was known as the “Colonel” amongst his friends. He was not afraid to take a stand for the truth as he saw it. I remember one conference we had here in Utah where I wanted someone to speak but Angus disagreed because this man was holding services on both Sabbath and Sunday. He saw this as dangerous compromise and I saw it as being flexible. As the conference was being held in my home territory, I had the final word. The man came to the conference and gave a wonderful talk about his wife dying in Africa on the mission field. The indigenous people they had served yearned to have her buried in Africa but her family in America desired her remains to come home. Finally, they compromised by burying her heart in Africa and allowing her body to come home to America. It was an emotional, compelling sermon. Angus came up to me afterward and said “That is the best talk I have ever heard.”
With Angus’s passing, a giant tree has fallen in the Restoration Movement. But as Yeshua said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” None of us have any idea how many seeds Angus and Batya are responsible for scattering over the earth. But we know the harvest will be great.
The saga of the coming Kingdom animated Angus. He noted how Luke says in Acts 1 that the resurrected Messiah appeared “to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” I can hear him thundering that we know what Yeshua must have been saying because the disciples’ last question was “Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?”
The colonel favored action over meditation. One of his famous messages concerns what he calls the “exit interview” with God. His greatest fear was that our legacy would be “butt prints in the sand.” We have lost a brother and warrior. Batya has lost her faithful companion and friend. But over in glory, the colonel is rounding up the troops and preparing to take the hill.
Angus passed away on Monday, July 6, at the age of 91. Please visit his memorial page at Osceola Memory Gardens.