Mesa Reflections

We had attended the B’ney Yosef Congress in Ariel Israel a couple of years ago. It was our first. We enjoyed that time very much. Particularly meeting and getting to know people from all over the world that identify as B’ney Yosef. We have many continuing relationships from that time.

Our time with the North America group in Mesa was very much the same. Particularly when we found our dear friend Hadassah from Holland there. What a great surprise. Then finding Hanoch Young there also was another blessing. This gathering was beginning to feel like the international gathering.

Celesta was particularly pleased to find that there were Native Americans speaking also. She has Cherokee heritage on her mom’s side. They gave everyone a wonderful taste of their culture. Their understandings about respect for one another and particularly the elders are something that has for the most part been lost in the modern American culture. When I was young in the 1940s and ’50s, respect for your elders was not optional. It was mandatory.

We just want to say that every speaker was exceptional. The theme of unity was perfect. We can’t survive without unity.

We made many new friends and saw many friends from the previous gathering. It was all a joy. We would consider it a great success.

I was asked to say a little bit about how I feel about what is going on in the family. We may have a more international view than some because of the amount of time we spend in Israel. This will be our third year to do all the feasts in Jerusalem. I can’t explain what a blessing and a joy that is. What we would call our Jerusalem family consists of people from multiple nations and religions. Mostly all Torah followers, but a lot of Christians as well. Also, Orthodox Jews, secular Jews, Messianic Jews and Jews that have accepted Y’shuah that don’t fit in any of those boxes.

What is interesting to me is that no one seems to be concerned that everyone is in different places. We can sit around in groups and discuss and share scriptures about our beliefs and no one gets emotional or upset. The joy of learning together sets the positive mood.

In America, Torah followers are very sectarian. When Y’shuah was here; they were also. Judaism is very sectarian. Christianity, I believe wins the award with around 43,000 denominations.

How does all this division come about? Well, in family there are only two different seeds. Those that divide (Satan’s objective) and those that unite (Y’shuah’s objective). According to the six abominations and the seven things YHWH hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). The first five consume the whole body and the last two are a false witness that divides the brethren. What is interesting is that if you bring this up in a divided group, both sides are excited. Why? They both think the other is the divider.

This brings me to what I think the belief of Avraham is. Avraham, and I’ll add Job into this crowd, believed that YHWH was the source of all that exists in the heavens and on the earth. He is in 100% control of His creation 100% of the time. If a person truly believes this, they will have Shalom. That Shalom is the light we should be displaying to the nations. It is not our job to judge. Torah judges and at the mouth of two to three witnesses it sometimes is necessary to remove someone from a congregation. This not the type of division that is wrong.

Y’shuah told the sons of thunder, when they wanted to call fire down on a city that didn’t welcome them in, “you don’t know what spirit you are of, I didn’t come to judge but to save”. We are His right hand till He returns so guess what our job is. Condemning and judgmental people are not a light. Did Avraham qualify you to stay with him? Was he concerned with which moon you followed? The sojourners he welcomed were most likely not religious at all but when they left, they would have a good feel for what it is like to be around a child of the Most High.

If we busy ourselves with being a light, realizing YHWH is in 100% control, then we can capitalize on the situations He brings us into, knowing these encounters are not by accident. When we are connected with Him, His Spirit can flow through us, and His Spirit will never cause us to operate with negativity.

I clearly heard a voice once and it said, “what is wrong with my people is that they are looking for what is wrong”. This means we are not happy with what He has given to us. Let’s look for what is “right” (of good report)!

The Father’s End-Time Passover Plan for Ephraim

The Father’s End-Time Passover Plan for Ephraim

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.

Ephraim’s Assignment

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.”



Purim: Being Saved From Our Enemies

Purim: Being Saved From Our Enemies

The Book of Esther is an all but forgotten book in most Christian circles-but every year, at Purim, the story is read and celebrated in synagogues. Celebrations include reading a Megillah- a small scroll that contains a book of the Bible. As the book of Esther is read, the people make loud noises as the good and bad characters in the story are mentioned. They applaud the name of Mordecai and boo Haman. Children dress in costumes like the characters, presents are given, and much food and drink is consumed.

Purim is not listed with Israel’s feasts in Leviticus 23. Nonetheless, it is based on the Biblical story of Queen Esther and tells of the demise of a wicked man named Haman. Purim is a time for the Father’s people to rejoice in His ability to save them from their enemies.

The enemy in this story is Haman, a descendant of Amalek. King Saul was supposed to kill all of the Amalekites when he conquered them, but he spared their king, Agag. This refusal to totally annihilate the Amalekites cost Saul his kingdom. YHVH had devoted them to destruction and not one of them was to be spared. These attackers of Israel were such a serious threat that Gideon wanted reassurance from the Almighty before he would engage them in battle. King David, too, later had to fight with them (Leviticus 27:28-29; Numbers 14:25,43,45; Judges 6:3,33; 7:12; 1 Samuel 13:13-14; 15:18-24; 27:8; 30:1,18; 2 Samuel 1:1). When King Saul had met them in battle, he did not kill off their king, and they consequently continued to plague Israel. By the time of Queen Esther, one of their heirs, Haman, had become an official in the court of King Ahasuerus in ancient Persia.

The story of Esther tells of Queen Vashti, who refused to go to a banquet hosted by King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes). She was consequently banished, and Ahasuerus began to search for a new queen. Among the contestants was young Esther, a beautiful orphaned Hebrew girl from the tribe of Judah. Mordecai was her uncle, and he had taken Esther under his wing.

It is interesting to note that, when Esther first came to the king’s court to be prepared to meet the king, she was placed under the care of Hegai, who was the king’s eunuch, meaning, his valet, his “helper,” if you will. And, when Esther’s turn came to be examined by King Ahasuerus, she asked to be arrayed only in what Hegai, the king’s eunuch/helper suggested for her. So it was that Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her (Esther 2:15).

The king’s helper knew what the king liked. Esther wisely listened to his counsel and thus won the king’s heart. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is the “Helper” of our King, Messiah Yeshua (John 16:7). And, we would do well to similarly ask His Helper to clothe us in the way that He knows is best for us. Then, our appearance will be pleasing in the eyes of our King.

Returning to our story, we see that Haman was a powerful man who liked the praise of men, and to have them bow before him. But, Mordecai, the Jew, who daily sat by the king’s gate, refused to bow before Haman.

Angered by Mordecai’s refusal to submit to his ways, Haman plotted to have King Ahasuerus authorize a royal decree calling for the death of an unspecified nation-one that Haman claimed was not being “loyal” to the king. Haman then casts lots, or dice, to determine the day for this planned annihilation. The Hebrew word for lots is “pur,” and the name Purim comes from this casting.

Thus a day was set to annihilate the Jewish people. Hearing of this evil plan, both Mordecai and Esther asked their fellow Jews to join them in fasting and prayer. Esther then took her life in her hands, by appearing unannounced before her king. Her plan was to reveal Haman’s hidden plot to destroy her people. To accomplish this, she invited both the king and Haman to join her for a special dinner.

After the dinner, the king was so pleased with Esther that he offered her up to half of his kingdom. Had Esther not been a spiritual woman, her head might have been turned with such an earthly temptation, but Esther wanted something greater than earthly possessions. She wanted to save her people. So, she simply asked that the King and Haman might return for dinner the next day.

That night, Haman ordered workers to build a gallows on which he planned to have Mordecai hung the next day. But, unbeknownst to Haman, King Ahasuerus was not able to sleep that night, so he had his servants read to him from the chronicles of his reign. Thus, he was reminded of a story about Mordecai-who had discovered and exposed an assassination plot against the king. Mordecai had saved the king’s life and Ahasuerus wondered if he had ever been properly rewarded for his loyalty.

In the morning, Haman appeared before the king, his heart full of a murderous plot. But, before he could say anything, Ahasuerus asked Haman how he thought someone who had saved the kings life should be rewarded. Vainly thinking the king was speaking of him, Haman suggested that the person should be wrapped in one of the king’s royal robes, placed on one of his horses, have a royal crest placed on its head, and be led about the kingdom by one of the king’s most noble princes.

“Excellent,” said the king. “Go at once and do this for Mordecai the Jew who sits at the king’s gate.”

So it is that Haman had to acknowledge Mordecai and the fact that he was greatly esteemed by the king of the realm.

That twist of fate alone should have been enough to stop Haman. He was even warned by his family to stop, but Haman had murder in his heart. He would not be satisfied with anything less than the total annihilation of anyone who would not bow before his boastful spirit.

That night, the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, and once again, the king asked her, “What is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life-this is my petition. And spare my people-this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”

The king then asked, “Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?”

Esther answered, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.”

Haman was terrified. The king, being in a rage, strode out into the palace garden, and Haman then began to beg Queen Esther for his life. Then, as the king was returning to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. This caused the king to exclaim, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”

Due to this “death-worthy” act, one of the kings attendants said, “A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman’s house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”

The king replied, “Hang him on it!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had so gleefully prepared for Mordecai.

Haman was hanged on the exact gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Furthermore, that same day, the king gave to Esther, Haman’s estate. And, she told the king how she was related to Mordecai. With this news, the king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and he presented it to Mordecai. And, Esther then appointed Mordecai as the ruler over Haman’s estate.

Next, Esther pleaded with the king to put an end to Haman’s evil plan to destroy the Jews in all of the king’s provinces. So, he told her to “write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring-for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.” A decree was thus written in the king’s name that granted to the Jews the right to annihilate any armed force that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies.

The day appointed for the Jews to do this was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

That day, Mordecai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And, the king’s city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and honor. In every province there was feasting and celebrating. And, in that day, many of the people became Jews because they feared them and their God-who was so obviously protecting them.

Thus was sorrow turned to joy, and a time of mourning into a feast day.

This is truly an awesome story of deliverance, yet, some people have little regard for the Book of Esther because the name of God is not found in its pages. While His “name” is not mentioned, we clearly see His mighty right arm of protection in action (Psalm 98:2; Isaiah 56:1). His name may not be written in the text, but signs of His salvation abound in the story.

We therefore suggest that Purim celebrations can be times for us to proclaim the good news of the salvation of our God. They can be times when we rejoice and know that our God will protect us from attacks from the enemy.

All of us have had, or perhaps are presently having, times when we need to be delivered from our enemies. But let us trust that, like Mordecai and Esther, our God can save us.

Some enemies are more evil in their intent than others. Some are like Haman, they want our destruction and will not be happy with anything less. But, our enemies do not scare our God. He can turn the tables on perverse people in the blink of an eye. He can cause the destruction once planned for others to be used against the perpetrator.

People can appear to be “Nobles in the Court,” when in reality, they have evil intent toward those who will not bow before their ignoble claims. We need to trust that they will one day be brought to justice. We need to rest in the fact that, one day they will fall, and their wickedness will be exposed.

As we celebrate Purim and tell this story about Israel’s deliverance, let us determine the following in our hearts:

When we hear the name of Haman, if we have any hatred in our hearts for others, let us “boo” it away. If we know brethren who are walking in destructive hatred, let us seek to privately counsel them to repent and be healed before it is too late.

When we hear the name of Mordecai, let us “applaud” his many good traits: taking care of orphans, refusing to bow to evil, and repenting with fasting when he hears of the evil plans of others against him.

When we hear the name of Queen Esther, let us “applaud” her many good traits. Let us acknowledge this Queen for having been more concerned with the well-being of her family than with having position or possessions. Most of all, let us applaud her for being wise enough to want the king’s helper to dress her; and, let us determine in our hearts that we, too, want our “King’s Helper” to clothe us in a way that will please our King, Messiah Yeshua. Let us determine in our hearts that we want to yield to the Almighty’s Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

We Wish You a Blessed Purim!
     Angus and Batya Wooten

Used by permission


Elders Dan and Kathy Collier

Elders Dan and Kathy Collier


We welcome our newest addition as B’Ney Yosef North America Elders, Dan and Kathy Collier.

After moving from Nashville, Tennessee, Kathy and Dan met in Seattle, Washington in 1963 where Dan was attending the University of Washington studying a business curriculum. They were married shortly thereafter, have remained so for 56 years. They moved to Nashville to finish his business degree a year later.

They have two children, Brooks and Laurie (in eternity), 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

They became believers in 1972, and over the years, Dan has served as an elder, pastor, teacher and has led a local congregation for 10 years having interacted locally with other congregations in their area and in other states as well. They have been in the Messianic walk for over 20 years.

Dan has been very active in business initiatives locally, nationally and internationally and for 5 years represented an Israeli company in the US.

Kathy has been an interior designer in the Nashville area for over 36 years managing her own construction crew, both designing and building as needed on her jobs.


BYNA: 2020 Calendar Considerations

As Hebrews in exile, we are subject to at least two major calendars; i.e., methods of dividing and naming days, weeks, months, and years. Practically speaking, it is impossible to live and work in “the world” without making concessions to their standard calendar, which is the Gregorian. Although there are many culture-based calendars that are not the Gregorian, every culture on the planet recognizes and refers to the Gregorian calendar as a common standard.

The Hebrew calendar, like almost all non-Gregorian calendars, is lunisolar, meaning essentially that the changing of the months is based on phases of the moon and changes from one year to the next are based on the relative position of the Sun in relation to the Earth.

Biblical references to times and dates are generally in relation to the Hebrew calendar.

The calendar can easily become a subject of much discussion, disagreement, and controversy. Agreeing on exactly which day(s) to observe the various moedim (appointed times; i.e., times appointed by YHVH through the instructions of Torah) can be challenging, and brethren have been known to discontinue fellowship over these types of disagreements.

Our hope, desire, and intent at BYNA is to extend love, grace, and understanding toward any who might disagree so that the spirits of worship, devotion, obedience, grace, peace, and righteousness might prevail.

With that in mind, we offer the following “calendar,” not as an expression of legal exactitude, but as a guide for personal consideration, examination, and observance.

We include the biblical Feasts as well as some Jewish traditional commemorations and some Israeli civil holidays, for your information and as a reference for further study and research.

We present this in the context of the Gregorian year designated 2020, which includes the last several months of the Jewish year 5780 and the first few months of the Jewish year 5781.

In the Hebrew manner of reckoning, the day begins at sundown, so the translation to Gregorian requires a two-date span of reference.

Keeping Shabbat – Exodus 31:13-17, 35:2-3, Lev. 23:3, 26:2, Deut. 15:12-15, 28:9, Is. 58:13-14, Jer. 17:21-27

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) – means “beginning, head, or renewal” (Num 10: 10, Num 28:11-15, Ps 81:3)


* Traditional Jewish Holiday/Festivals (not Biblical)

Moedim as identified in Torah


*Asarah B’Tevet – commemoration of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem in 425 BCE.  1/7 (10 Tevet) A day of fasting for Jews.

*Tu B’Shevat – Jewish new year of the trees.  2/10 (15 Shevat)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Tevet / Shevat

Sundown 1/26 to sundown 1/27

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Shevat / Adar

Sundown 2/25 to sundown 2/26

*Purim (Feast of Lots)

Sundown 3/9 to sundown 3/10 (14 Adar)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Adar / Nisan

*Rosh Hashanah (biblical: Exodus 12:2)

Sundown 3/25 to sundown 3/26

Our understanding of how the first three commanded feasts should be observed…

Pesach (Passover) one night – (Lev 23:5, Deut. 16:1) this is when the commemorative meal should be shared among immediate family (traditional Jewish Seder is somewhat more elaborate than what scripture calls for)

Sundown 4/7 (since 14 Nisan begins at sundown 4/7)

Feast of Matzot (Unleavened Bread) SOLEMN ASSEMBLY (Ex. 12:15-20)

(aka holy convocation to commence Matzot; essentially an “extra” Shabbat)

Sundown 4/8 to sundown 4/9

Matzot (Unleavened Bread)

Sundown 4/8 to sundown 4/16

Matzot (Unleavened Bread) SOLEMN ASSEMBLY

(aka holy convocation to end Matzot: essentially an “extra” Shabbat)

Sundown 4/15 to sundown 4/16

Our understanding is that First Fruits should be observed on “the morrow” of the regular Shabbat that happens in the midst of Matzot. Shavuot should always be on a Yom Rishon; thus, counting omer from one Yom Rishon (First Fruits) to another, seven weeks later. Leviticus 23:15-16

Bikkurim (First Fruits) commence the Counting of the Omer (Deut. 16:9-12)

Sundown 4/11 to sundown 4/12

*Yom Hasho’ah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Sundown 4/20 to sundown 4/21 (27 Nisan)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Nisan / Iyyar

Sundown 4/24 to sundown 4/25

*Yom HaZichron (Israel Memorial Day)

Sundown 4/28 to sundown 4/29 (5 Iyyar)

*Yom HaAtzma’ut (Israel Independence Day)

Sundown 4/29 to sundown 4/30

*Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)

Sundown 5/21 to sundown 5/22

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Iyyar / Sivan

Sundown 5/23 to sundown 5/24

Shavu’ot (Feast of Weeks) (Lev 23:5, Deut. 16:1)

Sundown 5/30 to sundown 5/31

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Sivan / Tammuz

Sundown 6/22 to sundown 6/23

*Tzom Tammuz (Fast of Tammuz)

Sundown 7/8 to sundown 7/9 (17 Tammuz)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Tammuz / Av

Sundown 7/21 to sundown 7/22

*Tisha B’Av (Ninth of Av)

Sundown 7/29 to sundown 7/30

*Tu B’Av (15th of Av)

Sundown 8/4 to sundown 8/5 (15 Av)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Av / Elul

Sundown 8/20 to sundown 8/21

40 Days of Repentance / Teshuvah (all of Elul plus first ten days of Tishrei)

Sundown 8/20 to sundown 9/27

Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) (Lev 23:23-24)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Elul / Tishrei

Rosh Hashanah (Civil New Year)

Sundown 9/18 to sundown 9/19

Days of Awe 

Sundown 9/18 to sundown 9/28

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) (10 Tishrei) – SOLEMN ASSEMBLY (Lev 23:27)

Sundown 9/27 to sundown 9/28

*Tashlikh (Micha 7:18-20, Ps 33, 118:5-9. 130)

Afternoon of 9/20

Sukkot (Feast of Booths/Tabernacles) (Lev 23:41-43, Deut 16:13-17)

Sundown 10/2 to sundown 10/9 (15 Tishrei thru 21 Tishrei)


Sundown 10/2 to sundown 10/3 – beginning of Sukkot

Sundown 10/8 to sundown 10/9 – end of Sukkot

*Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day)

Sundown 10/9 to sundown 10/10

*Simchat Torah

Sundown 10/10 to sundown 10/11

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Tishrei / Cheshvan

Sundown 10/18 to sundown 10/19

*Yom HaAliyah (Israel Immigration Day)

Sundown 10/24 to sundown 10/25 (7 Cheshvan)

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Cheshvan / Kislev

Sundown 11/16 to sundown 11/17

*Chanukah (Feast of Dedication / Festival of Lights)

Sundown 12/10 to sundown 12/18

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Kislev / Tevet

Sundown 12/15 to sundown 12/16

*Asarah B’Tevet

Sundown 12/24 to sundown 12/25

Hanukkah – an 8 Day Journey

Hanukkah – an 8 Day Journey


Hanukkah is a celebration of events in Jewish history that took place more than two thousand years ago. The historical events behind this holiday are recorded in two books called “Maccabees,” which were written between the time of the Tanach and the re-newed Testament, and were also described in the historical works of Flavius Josephus, in his “Antiquities of the Jews,” (Book 12, Chap. 5).

A powerful Syrian tyrant named Antiochus IV Epiphanes held the Jews prisoners in their own land for three years. Antiochus brought a huge army from Syria to destroy the Jewish religion and to force Jews to worship Greek gods. Antiochus tried to force the Jews to live like Greeks. He made laws to prohibit all Jewish practices, and he put Greek idols in the marketplaces and in the Temple. He even commanded that pigs, a scripturally unclean animal, be sacrificed in the Temple. He personally sacrificed one and poured its blood over the Holy scrolls and on the altar. Antiochus took over Jerusalem and ruined the Holy Temple of YHVH. The Jews fought back, but they were outnumbered and might not have survived if it hadn’t been for a strong man named Judah on their side. Judah and his four brothers were men of priestly descent, and refused to obey the new laws. Judah became the leader after his father, Mattathias’ death. Judah and his followers were called “Maccabees,” which means, “hammer” in biblical Hebrew. They lived in the village of Modi’in and led a small, brave army against the Syrian forces. The Maccabees used their street-smart brains to fight the troops of Antiochus. Judah and his troops finally won back the city of Jerusalem and freed the Jews, but the Temple was badly damaged and defiled. The priests of YHVH had to clean the Temple, making it pure again, which would take eight days according to scripture. Finally, on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month Kislev, in the year 165 B.C.E., the Temple was “rededicated,” or declared holy again. It was declared a holiday. The name of this holiday, Hanukkah, is derived from the Hebrew word for “dedication.”

The eight days of Hanukkah today reflect the eight days during which the Temple was being purified. Today, we light a special eight-branched menorah called a Hanukkiyah (or sometimes called an eight-branched menorah) each night in celebration. A ninth taller branch is also lit each night in which the others are taken from, called the “shammash”, meaning “servant” in Hebrew. Oil was used in the time of the Temple for burning the Menorah, but today, many of us use wax candles or electric bulbs in our household menorahs.

In the book of Yochanan (John), chapter 10, verse 22, it is written:

 “Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua (Jesus) was walking around inside the Temple area, in Sholmo’s Colonnade.” (Complete Jewish Bible)

The story of Hanukkah can also be compared with future end-time happenings described in the books of Revelation and Daniel. Antiochus is a type of the antichrist. Just as happened under the rule of Antiochus, Daniel prophesied in the Book of Daniel 9:27:

“He will make a strong covenant with leaders for one week (of years). For half of the week he will put a stop to the sacrifice and the grain offering. On the wing of detestable things the desolator will come and continue until the already decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”

Every year in Israel, on the first night of Hanukkah, a special torch is lit in the town of Modi’in and carried by relay to a giant menorah in Tel Aviv. For those who love YHVH, Hanukkah is the celebration of a great triumph in Jewish history, in which the people of YHVH survived an enemy as powerful as Antiochus, and every enemy who has followed since! It is a time in history when we clearly see that idol worship should not hold a place within the temple of our hearts, our synagogues, or our churches! As believers in the One True YHVH, we have much to learn from Hanukkah. It is clear that the words of Yeshua, along with the prophets and historians, paint a clear picture of YHVH-breathed survival for His people today.

This year, may we receive Yeshua, our Servant Shamash, and light our candles for eight days of holiness within our Spirit-filled Temples; thus, creating a living torch, dedicated to relaying the Truth of the Torah to a very dark world.



Read: Romans 6:11-23

  • We were slaves/servants to sin.
  • Now in Yeshua we are servants to the Lord.

Discuss: Single out the Shamash on the Hanukkah menorah, which is the servant candle that you use to light the rest of the candles. Use it as an object lesson…

Point out that the Shamash pictures the Messiah. This special candle is used to give the other candles their light. In the end, it is given a separate place, a place of honor. So it is with us who are servants of Messiah: we are to give ourselves to Him for His use, and when He returns He will give us honor! The Shamash is a great illustration for what the servant of the Lord is.

Ask Questions:

  • What does the Shamash do?
  • Why do you think it is placed apart from all the rest of the candles?
  • What do servants do?
  • Why are servants separate from others?

Pray: Ask YHVH to help you to yield yourselves to righteousness and to continue to serve the Lord.

Play “Shamash for a Day!”

Decorate a shoe box to look like a candle. Each family member writes several ideas for how to serve one another-each idea on a separate slip of paper. (Ideas: pray for Mom and dad, make someone’s bed beside your own, share a special treat, share a Bible verse, etc.) Each day of Hanukkah, family members take turns being the shamash. The shamash’s job is to pull out at least one idea and do it the following day. What a way to shine Yeshua’s Light, by being a servant, like Him!



Read: I Maccabees 4:30-59

“Seeing that the army was strong, he prayed thus: “Blessed are you, O Savior of Israel, who broke the rush of the mighty one by the hand of your servant David and delivered the camp of the Philistines. into the hand of Jonathan, the son of Saul, and his armor-bearer. Give this army into the hands of your people Israel; make them ashamed of their troops and their cavalry. Strike them with fear, weaken the boldness of their strength, and let them tremble at their own destruction. Strike them down by the sword of those who love you, that all who know your name may hymn your praise.”

Then they engaged in battle, and about five thousand of Lysias’ men fell in hand-to-hand fighting.

When Lysias saw his ranks beginning to give way, and the increased boldness of Judas, whose men were ready either to live or to die bravely, he withdrew to Antioch and began to recruit mercenaries so as to return to Judea with greater numbers.

Then Judas and his brothers said, “Now that our enemies have been crushed, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it.”

So, the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion. They found the sanctuary desolate, the altar desecrated, the gates burnt, weeds growing in the courts as in a forest or on some mountain, and the priests’ chambers demolished. Then they tore their clothes and made great lamentation; they sprinkled their heads with ashes and fell with their faces to the ground. And when the signal was given with trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.

Judas appointed men to attack those in the citadel, while he purified the sanctuary. He chose blameless priests, devoted to the law; these purified the sanctuary and carried away the stones of the Abomination to an unclean place. They deliberated what ought to be done with the altar of holocausts that had been desecrated. The happy thought came to them to tear it down, lest it be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it; so they tore down the altar.

They stored the stones in a suitable place on the temple hill, until a prophet should come and decide what to do with them. Then they took uncut stones, according to the law, and built a new altar like the former one. They also repaired the sanctuary and the interior of the temple and purified the courts.

They made new sacred vessels and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these illuminated the temple. They also put loaves on the table and hung up curtains. Thus, they finished all the work they had undertaken.

Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, that is, the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight, they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law on the new altar of holocausts that they had made.

On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it, on that very day it was re-consecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success. For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar and joyfully offered holocausts and sacrifices of deliverance and praise. They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields; they repaired the gates and the priests’ chambers and furnished them with doors. There was great joy among the people now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.”

Ask Questions:

  • What happened to the temple?
  • How do you think the Hebrews felt when they found it destroyed?
  • What did they do to repair it?

Pray: Ask YHVH for hearts and minds like the Maccabees. Pray that you can be dedicated to preserving and living the ways and Word of YHVH in today’s ungodly society.



Read: 1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17

Discuss: The worst thing that Antiochus Epiphanes did was try to turn the Jewish people away from YHVH. He put a big idol (false god) and sacrificed a pig in the Temple to keep people from worshipping the one true God.

Hanukkah is a fun holiday, but it’s also a time to think of ourselves as temples. If you have invited Yeshua into your heart, the Bible says His Holy Spirit lives inside of you just like YHVH’s Spirit once dwelled in the Temple. When we allow other people or things to be more important to us than YHVH, it’s like having idols in our hearts.

The title for this holiday is derived from Numbers 7:4 which recounts the dedication of the tabernacle in the time of Moses.

Talk about dedication and its importance in all areas of our lives.

Ask Questions:

  • What does it mean to be dedicated to YHVH? (Emphasize the concept of YHVH being the most important priority and first in every area of our lives.)
  • Can things, as well as people, be dedicated to YHVH? Explain.

Pray: Talk to YHVH about your desire to be dedicated. Ask Him for help in specific areas.



Read: 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 98:1; 1 Corinthians 15:57

Discuss: What was the real miracle at Hanukkah?

There is good historical evidence that the Hanukkah story concerning the miracle of the burning oil never happened! The story says that when the Jewish people wanted to light the great menorah in the newly dedicated Temple during the Maccabean revolt, there was only enough oil to last one day. But YHVH did a miracle! He caused the oil to last eight days, long enough to purify more oil.

The problem with the above story is that none of the most ancient sources for the history of Hanukkah (I, II Maccabees and Josephus) mention the above miracle. This does not mean that it never happened. It just means that the earliest and best sources for the history of Hanukkah never mention it. The miracle is first mentioned in the Talmud (Torah commentary), compiled about five or six hundred years after the first Hanukkah.

Does this mean that there wasn’t a miracle at Hanukkah? Indeed, there was a great miracle! It was both a spiritual and a military miracle.

First, the greatest miracle was that in the increasingly assimilating and hellenistic Jewish society, there rose up a family of faithful Torah-observant, YHVH-fearing Jews who made a courageous stand against those who were ignoring the Covenant of YHVH. Not only did Mattathias encourage his own family to live for YHVH, they also, in turn, were able to inspire others in their nation to do so. In the end, YHVH honored that courage and dedication to Him.

The second miracle came on the battlefield. The Maccabees and their followers were vastly outnumbered, out-equipped, and out-trained by their Antiochian enemies. Yet, through courage, smart tactics, and faith in YHVH, YHVH granted them the miraculous military victory they needed.

What about the eight days? It has been suggested that Hanukkah was celebrated for eight days because the Maccabees hid in the hills to fight their enemies and were not able to celebrate Sukkot. Therefore, when they celebrated their victory in Jerusalem, they included in their celebrations the eight-day celebration of Sukkot.

What was the real miracle at Hanukkah? The answer is that YHVH granted both a spiritual and a military victory to those who were dedicated to Him.

Ask Questions:

  • Can we expect YHVH to help us even in the face of great danger? Explain.
  • What purpose did YHVH accomplish when He helped the Maccabees? For you?
  • What other miracles can we remember in our lives?
  • What other great works has YHVH done for which we can sing praises to His Name?

Pray: Praise YHVH and thank Him, for He has done great and mighty things throughout all of history!



Read: Psalm 145:1-7

Discuss: The importance of remembering what YHVH has done for us in the past because, in doing so, we remember YHVH!

Ask Questions:

  • Name some ways that you have received blessings from YHVH.

Pray: Thank YHVH for the blessings He has given you.



Read: Matthew 5:14-16

Discuss: It is traditional for Jews to place the menorah in a window so that others may see and know that their home remembers YHVHs deliverance.

As Hebraic believers who understands the importance of commemorating the fact that YHVH is a God who goes before His people in battle, we too can put our menorot in the windows of our homes. We are His “called-out ones,” called to stand out as lights in a dark world, the living stones of His Temple dedicated to His service. We can stand courageous and strong against the ever-present powers of assimilation that endlessly seek to make us put a “bushel over our light.”

We are to stand up to these “armies” and say, “We are the people of the living God!” We are to know as Yehoshua knew, “no one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life” (Joshua 1:5). No matter what the army facing us looks like, we will not back down from who we are called to be, the “called-out ones” of the living God, to Him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen!

Ask Questions:

  • Why is it important for people to know we are dedicated to being a light in a dark and evil world?
  • How can we let people know what He has done for us?
  • Discuss this whole theme in light of Matthew 5:14-16 and Acts 1:8.

Pray: For at least one person you know who doesn’t yet know Yeshua. Pray for those in the land of Israel. Pray that we all as Hebraic believers will embrace the Torah to live it. And we will again “see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve YHVH and those who do not.” (Malachi 3:18)



Read: Romans 12:1-2; John 17:13

Discuss: Review the story of the Maccabees again. Emphasize the gladness and joy the people had when YHVH granted them victory over their enemies and permitted them to rededicate the Temple. Re-read I Maccabees 4:59 where it says “all the congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the rededication of the altar should be observed this season … with gladness and joy.”

Ask Questions:

  • What does it mean for our lives to be “a living sacrifice”?
  • What does our spiritual service of dedication/worship to YHVH consist of?
  • What is the real source of our joy? (Read the whole of John 17.)

Pray: Pray using expressions of joy, praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to YHVH for the joy of knowing Messiah Yeshua.



Read: John 1:1-14; John 8:12; John 9:5

  • What does this passage call Yeshua?
  • What does verse 9 mean when it says Yeshua gives light to everyone?
  • What is the Light of Life?
  • What have you learned these past eight days?

Ask Questions:

  • With all the candles lit, what do we have plenty of? (Light!!)
  • What are some things light does for us?
  • What happens to darkness in the presence of light?

Discuss: Talk about applying the things we have learned to our lives.

Pray: Turn out all household lights, have everyone look at the menorah lights and pray to know yourself as shining lights for Yeshua.