Articles of Declaration

Thus declares the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them together, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” (Ezekiel 37:19)

The Holy Scriptures declare that God made a covenant with Abraham, and within that covenant was a promise. Abraham would become the father of many nations, with descendants so numerous that no man could count them.[1] Scripture is not silent on how God’s promise would manifest; however, a great deal of time would pass before the fullness of His promise was realized. That journey began when the promise given to Abraham was passed on to his son Isaac as an oath, and then from Isaac to his son Jacob as a statute. It would continue into subsequent generations in the form of an everlasting covenant to a set-apart nation called Israel—the descendants of Jacob.[2]

Israel, like all nations before and after, would have times of peace and prosperity as well as times of war and disorder. It was during the reigns of King David and King Solomon that Israel enjoyed its greatest period of national blessing. But immediately after Solomon’s reign, conditions changed dramatically. The nation of Israel split into two separate kingdoms: Judah to the south and Israel to the north.[3] Judah predominantly continued to walk in God’s statutes and commandments, while the Northern Kingdom of Israel, prophetically known as Ephraim or Joseph, fell into a downward spiral of idolatry. God repeatedly warned the Northern Kingdom that continued disobedience would bring expulsion from the Land, but those warnings went unheeded as Israel refused to repent.[4]

Ultimately Assyria conquered Israel and took its inhabitants into exile, where they assimilated into Assyrian culture and accepted their many gods.[5] And so the God of Israel fulfilled His ominous promise, found first in Deuteronomy 28–30[6] and declared again many times in the Prophets.[7] God drove Israel even farther into the nations,[8] giving them up to their idols while simultaneously declaring them to be “not My people.” [9] They became known as the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” and were scattered as a mixed multitude to the four corners of the earth.[10]

Yet the grace of God knows no bounds, and despite His anger with the Northern Kingdom, His ominous promise also contained a pathway to restoration. When as individuals and as a nation Israel would repent and turn their hearts back toward Him, hearing and obeying His voice, He promised to gather them back from the nations into which they were scattered. Then He would circumcise their hearts and the hearts of their descendants so they might live again as a people committed to God.[11] Those who were called “not My people” would one day again hear the words, “You are sons of the Living God.”[12]

This call to repentance, which went out into all the nations, came from His anointed servant. Through Him, the rebuilding of the House of Israel began. Two thousand years ago, Yeshua of Nazareth came, in His own words, to call “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”[13] Though He lived among and addressed the descendants of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, the weight of His mission was clearly aimed at turning the hearts of Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom, back to the God of Israel. He trained twelve students to continue His work after He was gone and told them to “go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”[14] Since that time, by the Holy Spirit, many millions around the world have turned to the God of Israel and have been marked as His sheep. These “prodigal sons” [15] were given enough understanding to remain separate from the world, but not enough to regain full understanding of their identity. One day, however, that started to change as the great awakening promised by God began to dawn.[16]

We believe this promised awakening began over the last few decades and that we are not only witnesses to this awakening but participants as well.[17] Being drawn to the Torah, to the Land, and to the people of the Land while retaining the testimony of Yeshua, we  believe ourselves to be the “B’ney Yosef”—the “Children of Joseph”—prophetically called “Ephraim,”[18] a people who are being called out of the nations,[19] now and once again part of the Commonwealth of Israel.[20] And as part of this “called-out assembly,” we stand on the promise that God will one day join us to the House of Judah (the Jewish People) to become one united Israel, never again to be divided.[21]

B’ney Yosef North America is a network of North Americans who have heard the call to join together for the common purpose of the restoration and reconstitution of the people of northern Israel—the House of Yosef/Ephraim. We are in awe of the quick work our Lord has done; yet we proceed in tentative optimism because of the divisive nature of our people. Knowing that reconciliation with Judah will not become reality until we stand together as one, we are humbled by the great task ahead of making the necessary personal sacrifices to unify our house. To exist as the nation God intends, and knowing we have a part to play before God completes His work, we pledge this day to promote unity, peace, and harmony among those who belong—and who will belong—to our House and to the House of Judah. In addition to understanding the need for personal sacrifice for the good of the body at large, we accept the following principles in order to establish ourselves as a unified people:

  1. We will submit to the will of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and also to those whom God has raised to positions of trust and authority in our local assemblies and within the body of B’ney Yosef North America. We will also commit to lifting these servants up continually in prayer, knowing they face a difficult task.[22]
  2. We will remain teachable, humble, accountable, and open to correction while seeking to renew ourselves daily through prayer and commitment to God, His Messiah, His Torah, and one another.[23]
  3. We will live in a manner that stands opposed to those things that cause division and strife within the body, being mindful that our walk should always reflect the character attributes of the God we serve.[24]
  4. We will promote peace, harmony, love, and stability within and between our families, our local assemblies, the communities in which we live, and all of God’s Israel.[25]
  5. We will remain aware that knowledge and understanding are gifts from God and that the misuse of these gifts profanes both the gift and the Gift Giver. Therefore, we will refrain from using our knowledge and understanding as a litmus test to determine who does and does not belong to God.[26]
  6. We will acknowledge that currently most Ephraimites are not yet aware of their identity and that until Messiah comes, it is not realistic to expect we will stand in agreement regarding all facets of understanding and practice. We will also acknowledge that the work God is doing is happening over a progression of time. Therefore, we will commit ourselves to showing mutual respect and understanding, being quick to extend grace and slow to criticize, knowing this “last days” call will reach into all nations, cultures, peoples, and tongues in God’s timing and not our own.[27]
  7. We will consent to the need to walk before our brother Judah in a manner that builds trust, opens doors of communication, and displays godly character. We will further acknowledge the need to repent for centuries of hostility, unfair treatment, and religious overzealousness directed at Judah in the name of Christianity and the need to seek forgiveness from Judah and our heavenly Father.[28]
  8. We will stand ready to give an answer for the hope of our calling, willing to share what we believe with anyone who desires to hear; this is our responsibility. Yet we acknowledge there is a difference between giving answers to questions asked and trying to convert another to our way of understanding and practice. Therefore, B’ney Yosef North America cannot and will not support or defend any attempts to evangelize the Jewish people.[29]
  9. We will not force Judah or anyone else to accept that we are who we believe ourselves to be. Instead, we will wait patiently on God to do His work. In the interim, we will actively assume the roles of bridge builders, peacemakers, and repairers of the breach; a people who understand why the community at large—the nation to which we belong—is greater than self.

As a people who currently remain scattered among the nations, it is imperative that we unite through these declared principles and our deference to God-ordained leadership in order to ensure the tranquility of the House to which we belong. The forming of a civil body of governance will allow us to establish and administer our national affairs and settle disputes that cannot be dealt with on a local level. This will stave off those things that would otherwise create additional division and strife within our House.

Beyond whatever small part we each play in this process, we rest knowing that God will do all He has promised through His everlasting covenant made with Israel. Ultimately God is the one Who will make Judah and Ephraim one stick in His hand; we cannot do His work for Him. Before that time, however, we are to treat the two sticks as though they are already one. Today we unite as one nation, willing servants who seek only to glorify the God of Israel and His Messiah through every word we speak and deed we perform. May His mighty and set-apart name be blessed over all the earth. Amen.

BYNA – Articles of Declaration


 

[1] Gen. 13:6, 15:5, 17:3-8

[2] Ps. 105:8-10. See also Gen. 17:1-9, 26:1-5, 35:9-12.

[3] 1 Kings 12; 2 Chron. 10

[4] 1 Kings 11:29-35; 2 Kings 17:6-22; Hos. 11:5

[5] 2 Kings 15:29, 18:9-12

[6] Though these three chapters reveal the full picture, God’s intent is summed up well in Deut. 30:1-6.

[7] Lev. 26:33; Deut. 4:23-27; Hos. 1. See also Deut. 28:25, 37, 64 and Jer. 50:17.

[8] Isa. 11:12; Ezek. 28:25-26, 34:13

[9] Hos. 1:9

[10] 1 Kings 22:17; Jer. 50:6

[11] Deut. 30:1-6

[12] Hos. 1:10, 2:23

[13] Matt. 15:24

[14] Matt. 10:5-6

[15] Luke 15:11-32. Many believe this parable is speaking of Judah (the older brother) and Ephraim (the younger brother).

[16] Ezek. 37:4-11; Matt. 24:32-34

[17] It was not until the mid-1990s that assumed “Gentiles” began to be drawn to the Torah, the Land, and the people of the Land.

[18] Gen. 48:19; Isa. 11:13; Ezek. 37:19

[19] The Greek word translated as “church” is ekklesia. It simply means “to be called out.”

[20] Eph. 2:12-19 (Key verses are 12 and 19.)

[21] Jer. 31:31-34/Heb. 8:8-11; Ezek. 37:15-19

[22] 2 Thes. 1:11; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:5

[23] Ps. 51:10; Matt. 18:4; Heb. 3:13

[24] Prov. 6:16-19; Gal. 5:22-23

[25] Ps. 133:1; Matt. 22:37-40; 2 Cor. 13:11

[26] Ps. 143:10; Matt. 23:23; John 14:26

[27] James 1:1, 19. See also Jer. 31:34 and 1 Cor. 12:28 (having a need for teachers reveals that we cannot expect everyone to have the same understanding at this time) and Matt. 24:32-34 (progression of time).

[28] Jer. 31:31-34/Heb. 8:8-11. The covenant is made with Israel and Judah—God is including the Jewish people; our current theology doesn’t harmonize with this truth. Also notice that in Ezek. 37:15-20 Ezekiel holds both sticks (Israel and Judah).

[29] 1 Pet. 3:15

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