Our Israelite Faith. What should we believe? [by Angus & Batya Wootten]

Our Israelite Faith
What Should We Believe?
by Angus and Batya Wootten

Shalom
How does one begin to answer the all-important question, “What should I believe now that I have begun to understand my role as part of the people of Israel?”
In our day, we find an infinite number of answers about faith through the internet, television, and other media venues. We are flooded with words on the subject, and we are warned of a latter-day flood of words that comes forth from Satan’s mouth. Moreover, he spews out these words in order to sweep the believing children Israel away from the truth (Rev 12:15).
In this hour, we who seek to follow the Messiah of Israel need to be especially careful about what we believe. The abundance of opinions available to us in an instant makes for a gigantic religious smorgasbord at which we can freely dine. However, we need to beware this buffet because some of the offerings are seasoned with “spiritual arsenic.” Moreover, after passing through this dinner line, it seems that Believers seldom end up with similar plates of food. For this reason, we ask, what basic truths and understandings must we have on our eternal plates? What essential foods will best strengthen us and help us to fulfill our Father’s plan to restore the whole house of Israel?
To begin, we note that the first Adam was disobedient and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was “good” food on Adam’s plate, but the little bit of evil found there brought about a death sentence that affects us to this day. And yet… the Father continued to love Adam’s heirs. He even sent His Son Yeshua, the second Adam, to re-gather us. Our Messiah offers us His empowering Bread of Life to eat. In Him we find the eternal redemption that we so desperately need.
On a cross made of two sticks/trees (etz), Messiah Yeshua took our place – He bore our sins and paid the price for our transgressions – so we could find eternal forgiveness and become one new man in Him. It is essential that we understand that He could not pay this high price in man’s behalf unless He was our Elohim, unless He was truly God come in the flesh (Psa 49:10,15; John 1:1; Eph 2:15). Having paid that high price, He left life on this earth and then rose from the grave. He ascended into heaven and sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Ruach haKodesh.
When we invite Yeshua into our hearts, the Holy Spirit begins to change us from within. He woos and draws us and seeks to conform us into the image of our Messiah. He works to write YHVH’s eternal Torah on our hearts – for that is the essence of the promise of the New Covenant. He wants to empower us to have a faith like that of Yeshua, to walk as He walked, and to do that which is pleasing to the Father. So it is that, to have the power Israel needs in order to prevail in the last days, we must have the Holy Spirit (Jer 31:31-33; Zec 4:6; John 5:19; Heb 8:10; 1 John 5:4-6).
These are essential truths that must always be on our proverbial faith plates.

Having A Working Faith
Concerning faithfulness (fidelity/faith), we see in the Old Covenant that YHVH is a God of faithfulness, that only the faithful will enter into His Gates, that in this life, faithful friends are hard to find, and that they bring healing and will not lie (Deu 32:20; Pro 13:17; 14:5; Pro 20:6; Isa 26:2). In the New Covenant, Yeshua told His disciples to have faith in YHVH, that righteous men must live by it, that it comes from hearing the Word of God, we all have an adequate measure of it, and, we are called to walk by faith and not by sight (Mark 11:22; Rom 1:17; 10:17; 12:3; 2 Cor 5:7).
YHVH chose us for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit, and by faith in His Word of truth. He declares that, “My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
Faith preserves our soul. It is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” By it, the men of old gained approval. Without it, it is “impossible” to please God. He who comes to YHVH “must believe [must have faith in the fact] that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (2 Th 2:13; Heb 10:38-39; 11:1-2,6).
Concerning our faith, James warns us that it will be tested – because testing produces endurance. Testing comes so we can be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. When being tested we must ask for help in faith and without any doubting. The one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. In this unstable state, one should not expect to receive anything from YHVH (James 1:3-8).
Faith is more than just believing something. The devil “believes” that God exists. Our faith must consist of more than just believing, as in assenting to a fact. Faith calls for action on our part. James says, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works?” Faith alone will not save us, without accompanying works it is useless, even dead faith. If we see a brother in need to do more than just pray, we must also help provide him with the necessities of life. In this way, we show our faith by our works. Abraham was justified by works when he offered up Isaac (his son) on the altar. His faith resulted in works and that combination was credited to him as “righteousness” (James 2:14-26).
So, what kind of works should Israelites have on their proverbial faith plates?
John sums up the essence, call, hope and purpose of our faith when he says, “Whatever is born of YHVH overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4). We are given the gift of faith to help us in our call – which is to overcome the world. We do that by helping to establish our Messiah’s eternal Kingdom, here, on earth (Mat 6:10). It is not enough for us to believe that Yeshua wants to one day establish a Kingdom. We must couple our faith with works that move us toward His stated goal. We must not be idle and think He will one day do all of the work. Yes, our works must truly be faith-based and God-inspired. Moreover, if we do something in the flesh, it will ultimately be exposed as a work of the flesh – but doing nothing will similarly be exposed as being of faithless flesh. Our God uses His people to accomplish His work in the earth. If we know that He wants to establish His Kingdom here, that knowing must be alive in our hearts.
We also must better understand the role of Jerusalem and the Believer.
Our Messiah will one day return to a particular Land and to His chosen city, Jerusalem. From there He will rule the earth. Although the whole Earth is YHVH’s, Jerusalem is its center. She is the promised “Bride.” We learn much by seeing ourselves as Messiah’s Bride, but we also learn if we see Him as the Bridegroom and ourselves as His Body. In this way, we see ourselves as Jerusalem’s Bridegroom/Protector. Like a bride, we will become one with her, so we pray without ceasing for her well being. Like a husband, we care for her and protect her from those who would molest her. There is a higher call that is yet to be realized by the modern Nation of Israel, because the city they so dearly love, and have fought so hard to protect, is destined to become the “City of the great King” (Isa 62:1-7; Psa 122:6; 48:1-2; Mat 5:35; Mark 2:19; Eph 5:24-31; Rev 21:2,9-10).
Our promised “dessert” is the New Jerusalem, and we, the Believers in Messiah Yeshua, are now being called to help prepare this delicate dish.

Keeping the Word – Genesis to Revelation – On Our Plates.
The night before Messiah Yeshua went to the cross for us, He prayed to the Father concerning both His disciples and each one of us. He said, “I have given them Your word…I also have sent them into the world…I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are One: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father…I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17: 14-26).
The “words” Messiah Yeshua spoke to His disciples (which words they believed and ultimately wrote about) were foretold in Torah. Yeshua is the promised Prophet likened unto, and even greater than Moses. As promised, YHVH put His Words into the mouth of His Son. The Son then spoke those words of promise to us, and we must believe in them – even as we believe in the Torah that foretold of them. Either we believe in the Messiah’s Word, or Father will call us to account for our unbelief (Deu 18:15-19; Mat 12:6,41-43; John 5:36; 12:48; Heb 1:1; 3:1-6).
We must have an abundance of the Father’s Word, Genesis to Revelation, on our plates. We cannot eat too much of this nourishing food. It is like Manna that we must hide in our hearts. It will strengthen us in the days when we need to run with horses.

Faith and Israel’s Restoration
Messiah Yeshua is gathering His flock and that flock belongs to His Commonwealth of Israel. His ministry was about re-gathering Israel’s lost sheep. He called for us to be “One,” even as He and the Father are “One.” His plan for us is that, as a truly repentant people, we might be re-gathered back to our own soil; that we might be a nation set apart in holiness and true dedication to our God (Jer 3:21; 23:1-8; 31:9; 50:4; Eze 34; John 10:30; 17:22; Eph 2:10-20).
The Holy One of Israel is now in the process of restoring His chosen nation, and we are part of that nation. He is now making its “two sticks” one in His Holy hand (Eze 37:15-28). Even so, we need to recognize its other members even as we do with our actual families, knowing that each one of us can be “in a different place with the Father,” yet still be “family.” We do not compromise what we know to be the truth, and we treat them with the loving respect due to family members. Through our walk (which is our true testimony), we try to help draw them closer to the Father.
We are being re-gathered as a Nation, thus we need to seek unity wherever possible. However, unity is not the same as uniformity. Each one of us is unique and very special to the Father. Each of us needs to see, know, understand and trust in the fact that, He has a good plan in store for us. He says, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
YHVH follows this promise with the declaration that, once we begin to grasp His plan, and to trust in it, something glorious will happen: “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
We are about to find, discover, and know the Holy One of Israel in a new, more profound, and powerful way than ever before. For He has sworn, “‘I will be found by you…and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and…places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile'” (Jer 29:11-14).
Our plates must always be liberally sprinkled with loving concern for the whole house of Israel.
As Believers in Messiah, we have been blessed with the unmerited grace and favor to see the truth about our heritage. Most importantly, we are getting a glimpse of the coming glory that awaits a redeemed, reunited, and restored House of Israel. We have been uniquely chosen to be in the forefront of this prophesied re-gathering of the whole house of Israel. This knowledge has changed our lives. However, we must realize that there is a reason why we have been chosen to be in the forefront at this time.
Glory lies just ahead. But, we will not enter into that glory alone. Again, YHVH wants to restore us as a nation, thus, He wants us to share with others about the life-changing truth which He has blessed us. Paul said, “Whoever will call on the name of YHVH will be saved.” But he also asked, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!'” (Rom 10:13-15).
We are being called to share the good news that has changed our lives with those to whom the Ruach leads us. As good students of the Word, it is time for us to cease to be spectators in this amazing restoration that is presently taking place. It is time for us to become active and effective participants and pioneers. We know the essentials that must be on our plates and it is time for us to step up and help guide others through the end-time buffet. It is time for us to share the truth, to tell others about what we have found to be both true and nourishing (2 Cor 7:7).
The world was created with God’s spoken words and is even held together with His Word: Genesis to Revelation. Everything involves words, whether spoken, written, thought, sung or depicted. Words are important and so is choosing the right ones. Messiah Yeshua said He spoke only as the Father directed Him so speak (John 8:26,28; 8:38; 12:50). We need to learn to do the same.
Words that are inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh can change lives for the better. So let us ask the Father to give us an opportunity to speak such words. Let us ask Him to allow us to work this day toward rebuilding His glorious Kingdom.
Amen and Amen. May it be so in our day

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Hanukkah The Feast of Dedication [by Batya Ruth Wootten]

Hanukkah
The Feast of Dedication
by Batya Ruth Wootten

Shalom
The following article was previously published in a House of David Herald Newsletter. Batya enlarges on the subject in her feast book, Israel’s Feast and their Fullness – Expanded Edition. In it, she points out that the Hasmoneans forced conversions and began a Dynasty that took leadership from King David’s House – so they were opposed by some from his line (See Maccabees). The Hasmoneans also mandated its celebration, which is unscriptural (Deu 4:2). This may be why Messiah Yeshua was watching the celebration off to the side, while walking (treading? Strong’s # G 4043) in Solomon’s Portico (John 10:23). He was from King David’s house and would have been aware of the error of usurping the calling that was upon the House of David.

Zechariah apparently recognized a separation between Judah and the House of David. Speaking of Israel’s endtime return to the land, he said, “The LORD also will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah” (Zec 12-7).

Hanukkah began as a late Tabernacles celebration, but later became a symbol of Jewish perseverance (see the Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 10:6-9).

Hanukkah History

Menorah Nine BranchIn 168 B.C., on the 25th day of Kislev, which falls during November/December, the army of the Greek-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, desecrated the Temple of the God of Israel. He also ordered the sacrifice of a pig on the Temple altar, had pagan idols brought into the Sanctuary, and forbade all worship of the God of Israel – as well as following the Law of the God of Israel. Those who chose to obey the Holy One rather than man, were seen as violators – the decreed punishment being execution.
Under the leadership of Judah the Maccabee, who was also known as the “Hammer,” a faithful remnant resisted the Syrians. They called on YHVH Tsavaot, the God of the Armies of Israel, and asked Him to aid them in their battle. Although they were greatly outnumbered, the Maccabees managed to regain control of Jerusalem in 165 B.C.

According to tradition, the Almighty then caused a one day supply of Menorah oil found in the Temple to last for eight days, while fresh oil was being consecrated – thus giving light in the Temple. (Note: There is no historical record of this miracle in the early accounts of Hanukkah and it is contested by many.) The Maccabees then cleansed the Temple, and on the 25th day of Kislev, exactly three years after the Syrians had profaned the Sanctuary, a new altar was dedicated.

It is said that in commemoration of this victory over evil, and because they had been unable to celebrate Sukkot/Tabernacles at its proper time, for eight days the Jewish people celebrated – giving glory to their God for delivering them from their enemies.

Hanukkah means “Dedication” and is thus thought to be a “Sukkot” type celebration that ultimately took on a life of its own.

In the Apocrypha, in I Maccabbees 2-4, we read of these zealous Israelites who refused to bow down to false gods. To honor the event in our day, worship services in synagogues around the world include the prophetic passage from Zechariah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts” (Zec 4:6). For eight consecutive days Jewish people light candles on a nine branched Hanukkah Candelabrum (as opposed to a seven branched Menorah like the one that was in the Temple). Just before sunset, families gather to light the first candle during this “Festival of Lights.” Children are given gifts of gelt (money) and chocolate, and a dreidel game is played using a special spinning top and beans. Hanukkah songs are sung and the story of redemption is retold.

The center, or otherwise prominent candle of the Hanukkia Lamp is traditionally called the shammas or servant. Each night, it is used to light the other candle(s). On the first night, it is used to light one candle (starting on the right), on the second night two; adding one candle each night until, on the last night, all eight are lit by the shammas, which is lit every night. Nine-branched Hanukkah lamps were created for this occasion because the rabbis felt Jews should not reproduce anything that was in the Temple. These should be called Hanukkia lamps, to distinguish them from the Spirit-inspired seven-branched Menorah that was in the Tabernacle and Temple.

Long ago, the Maccabees won a great military victory for our Jewish people. They won because they were faithful to the Almighty alone. Due to their faith-filled actions (coupled with YHVH’s grace), the Temple was rededicated and freedom to worship the God of Israel was restored. In and through them, the God of Israel once again confirmed His desire to preserve His people.
In this story we see a picture of deliverance for those who follow “good shepherds” – leaders like the Maccabees. The focus of the celebration is on faithfulness, on being dedicated to righteousness. We are to be faithful and righteous even as is our God. But how should the non-Jewish Believer in Messiah relate to this Holiday? Are they to simply to follow the traditions of our Jewish brothers, or is there something more for us to see here?
In John 10:22-24, we read, “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.”

Some feel these verses prove that Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah. Others feel they portray Him as being off in the distance, looking on, from Solomon’s portico. Regardless, we know He was there, and that, at that time, some from Judah asked Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

In response, Yeshua affirmed His oneness with YHVH, and He made it clear that He was leading His people. He said, “You do not believe….because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” We read that, when He said this, “the Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.” They told Him they did this, “Because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:24-32). This is the second time they sought to stone Yeshua. The first time was during a Feast of Tabernacles when they were lighting the great menorahs and He cried out, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

When questioned about His Messiahship during Hanukkah, why did Yeshua answer by affirming His Oneness with YHVH, and by talking about His sheep hearing His voice, and about them being protected by the Father?
Because the people were putting great emphasis on physical deliverance from their oppressors. Even Judas Iscariot wanted a Messiah who would crush the Roman oppressors like the Maccabees did with the Syrians. But Messiah Yeshua wanted something greater and more lasting for His followers…

Cleansed Temples and Pure Lights

Messiah Yeshua wants people who do not love their lives even unto death. He seeks those who will focus on cleansing a different temple, one that is being built up by His Holy Spirit. As his people, we are to be temples of the Living God, and we are to allow His Ruach HaKodesh, His Holy Spirit, to cleanse our hearts. In that way, Yeshua’s light will shine forth from our inner man. Messiah Yeshua will pour in the oil (which symbolizes the Holy Spirit) and we will become living examples to all the world of His protection and provision (2 Cor 6:16; 7:1; Heb 9:14; 1 John 1:9; Mat 5:14; John 8:12).
Messiah Yeshua is the “Servant” named “Israel” who was sent to “raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel.” Yeshua is especially “a light to the Goyim (Gentile Nations),” to those who were once destined to become a melo hagoyim, or “fulness of the Gentiles.” He is the Shepherd God of formerly scattered Ephraim Israel, those of the supposedly “Lost Tribes” (Isa 49:6; Gen 48:19).

YHVH said He Himself would search for His lost sheep. He also said. “And I will set over them one Shepherd, My Servant…He will feed them Himself and be their Shepherd… will be their God and My Servant David will be Prince among them…. They will live securely, and no one will make them afraid…. Then they will know that I, YHVH their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people….For, I will take…Ephraim and Judah and their companions…and make them one stick in My hand…and they will be one nation in the Land…” (Isa 8:14; Eze 34:11,23-30; 37:15-28; Amos 9:9).
Those who follow the Good Shepherd do not need to fear oppressors. They simply need to trust in Him and be filled with His light (Isa 2:5; 1 Pet 2:9,10; Hos 1:2-11; 2:23; Luke 1:33).

At this Hanukkah season, let us celebrate by rededicating ourselves to our God, to the Holy One of Israel.

Let us ask the Father to empower us to: Better hear the voice of our Shepherd – Help build up His Holy Temple in the Spirit – Be willing to be cleansed when the Ruach shines His light on our sin – Be more dedicated to the restoration of His Kingdom to the whole house of Israel.

So gather family and friends, light the menorah, and meditate on verses of Scripture that have to do with light, such as:
Night one: John 1:1-12; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36.
Night two: Psa 4:6; 27:1; 56:3; 89:15; 119:105,130.
Night three: Isa2:5;10:17;Mat5:14-16.
Night four:Luke11:30-37;Acts26:18;2Cor4:4-6.
Nightfive:Phil2:14-16;Isa42:16.
Night six: Eph 5:8-15; Pro 6:23.
Night seven: 1 Pet 1:1; 2:9-10; 1 John 1:5-9.
Night eight: John 3:19-21; 1 John 2:9-11.

Father, we ask You to cleanse us and to help us to walk in a way that causes our internal light to shine before men, so that they too might find hope and safety in You.

During this season of lights, help us to lift up the One Who is both the Light and Shepherd God of Israel. For “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

Batya Ruth Wootten
For the Patrol
batya@mim.net

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There is Another….

There is Another . . . .
by Rick Erb
Shalom

Decades ago, in Episode VI of the Star Wars series (Return of the Jedi), we sat incredulous, as Yoda gasped out with his final dying breath: “There is another · · · · Skywalker.” With the verbalization of that singular bit of information, which had been true all along, Luke was jolted into the realization that he was not the only remaining member of his family, as he had previously assumed.

The Spirit of Almighty G-d does not gasp, but sometimes He does whisper. He whispers, but not all are willing to hear. For years now, He has been whispering to people around the world, in growing numbers, about their hidden ancestry and their previously unrealized connection with Israel.

These are, for the most part, people who are not known to have any Jewish ancestry, and who come from what would be considered by most to be a Christian background. Many are at a complete loss to explain to their friends and family members why they are suddenly observing Sabbath on the seventh day, changing the foods they eat, observing Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, and the other Biblical holidays, and why they have a longing to learn Hebrew and move to Israel.

These people have also experienced outright rejection in one form or another. The rejection has in many instances come from friends and family members who are not willing to leave behind their Christian traditions. However, the rejection has also come from a number of people who describe themselves as Messianic Jews. Some of these Messianic Jews have even suggested (wrongly) that these people are nothing more than insecure “wannabees” who are simply confused Christians having an identity crisis. Again, some people do not listen when G-d whispers.

The historical record is not always clear, but on this point there is not much room for discussion: The twelve tribes of Israel were long ago divided into two separate nations, they warred against one another, and those two separate nations were never reunited. Oh, sure, there were some individuals from the North who crossed over to the South, and maybe even some from the South who went North. But those undocumented aliens became part of the nation to which they moved, and that did not in any fashion constitute a reunification of the two nations.

One of those nations, the one to the north, was conquered, its citizens were driven out of their land, and its descendants were swallowed up by the surrounding pagan nations, where those former Hebrews were outwardly transformed into gentiles. This nation is referred to in the Bible as either “Israel” or “Ephraim.” Their fate has long been the stuff of rumor, myth, mist and legend. The other nation, the one to the south, separately described in the Bible as “the Jews” or “Judah,” ultimately lost its homeland, but never its identity. One noted and highly respected author has described what happened in this way:

Long ago the Father divided Israel into two houses: Ephraim (Israel) and Judah. As His two witnesses they were sent in two different directions to serve two different purposes, to establish His two immutable truths of Law and Grace. And now, in this last day, YHVH would have the two Israels (and their companions) come together, that they might fulfill His Divine purpose and begin to confirm His truth in the earth.

Israel. Her story is a simple one:
Two Houses
Two Directions
Two Different Purposes
Now it is Time to Put Them Back Together Again. (See Note 1)

That seems simple enough. In fact, it should be that simple, but back when Judah and Ephraim separated from one another, they were not on friendly terms; in fact, they were bitter enemies. The family started formally feuding after Solomon died, they divided into two clans, and some of the descendants still don’t seem to realize that the feud is over-or at least it’s supposed to be over. Though a number of Jews are eagerly awaiting the reappearance of Ephraim, and have increasingly come to grips with the notion that Ephraim seems to have been largely hidden among the Christians, many within the Messianic Jewish movement still haven’t acknowledged the possibility that there are Israelites other than themselves who profess faith in Yeshua as Messiah.

Perhaps all of us in this movement would do well to meditate on this promise of a change in the heart, mind and Spirit: “Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.” (Isaiah 11:13, NASB). This promise is fulfilled as part of the events of the Messianic Age. If we are living in the days leading up to that promised time, then shouldn’t we be expecting to see the events which are described?

When the nation of Israel was first divided, shortly after Solomon died, the division came from G-d (1 Kings 12:24; 14:7&8, 2 Chronicles 11:4). If the fact that Israel was divided into two houses is troubling, then the matter should be taken in prayer before the G-d of Israel; it was His handiwork which resulted in the existence of two houses, and it was He who coined that phrase. Even the prophet Isaiah spoke plainly of two houses, and he was quoting G-d when he did so. “He (YHVH) shall be a sanctuary, but also a striking stone and a stumbling rock for the two houses of Israel; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 8:14 Stone Edition). The “Two House” teaching originated with the Holy One of Israel, and it was He who made separate promises to each of the two houses.

He also imposed separate punishments or curses on each of the two houses (Ezekiel ch. 4). The punishment imposed upon Ephraim included no longer being a people for a period of time. Some believe that the duration of the punishment announced in Ezekiel 4:5 is multiplied by seven, as a result of the application of Leviticus chapter 26. Under that line of reasoning, Ephraim’s punishment would be 2,730 years in duration. (See Note 2) If that term of punishment began in 734 BCE, when the House of Israel became a vassal of Assyria, then the period of punishment ended in 1996. If that term of punishment began in 722 BCE, when Ephraim was no longer a people, then the period of punishment ended in 2008. It was during the span of those twelve years when the Messianic Israel (otherwise known as the “Ephraimite”) movement seems to have begun in earnest, so there is compelling evidence to indicate that this is a valid understanding.

Before Ephraim was dispersed among the nations, there were a few times when the kings of the two houses attempted to join together, and it did not go at all well. Jehoshaphat formed an alliance with Ahab, and he was rebuked for it (2 Chronicles 18:1-19:2). Jehoshaphat also joined with Ahaziah, and G-d destroyed their joint venture (2 Chronicles 20:35-37). Ahaziah (a different one, a king of Judah) attempted an alliance with Jehoram, and they were both killed, just as G-d had warned (2 Chronicles 22:5-8). Not only were the two houses not allowed to join together by way of alliance, they were also not allowed to be joined together by way of conquest over one another (2 Chronicles 28:5-11). Israel was divided into two houses, and it was G-d’s will for things to stay that way until the time of the end.

After G-d had His fill of Israel’s disobedience, the Northern Kingdom was completely deconstructed, and its people were scattered among the nations. Moses foresaw all of this long before it happened. He told our ancestors before they ever entered the land that their descendants would become disobedient, and that they would be scattered among the nations, to the very ends of the Earth. He also stated plainly that their descendants would one day be awakened to their identity, that they would draw near to G-d’s instructions, and that they would then be restored to their rightful place as part of Israel. He spoke this prophecy to all 12 tribes (Deuteronomy 30:1-5), not just to the small remnant from the Southern Kingdom which remained after Ephraim was gone. After the curse was finally imposed upon the Northern Kingdom, it was not long before those people-as a people-were erased from the pages of history.

Out of all the people who once comprised Israel, only Judah remained (2 Kings 17:18). The prophet Hosea tells us the story about how G-d would be dealing with Ephraim. He stated plainly that He was going to scatter Ephraim among the nations, that he would have no mercy on Ephraim, and that Ephraim would no longer be a people. However, G-d also promised, through Hosea, that after the curse of that dispersion was lifted, G-d would once again have mercy, and that Ephraim would be awakened as a people, and be regathered and restored along with the rest of Israel.

Isaiah prophesied: “now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people” (Isaiah 7:8, NASB). He did not prophesy that all of the Northern descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would suddenly merge with those in the South, and be simultaneously renamed as “Jews.” In fact, Jews apparently weren’t even called Jews until after Ephraim was well on its way into oblivion. The first reference in the Bible to “Jews” (depending on the translation) appears in 2 Kings 16:6, and the two nations were not in the process of reunifying. It is clear in the Hebrew that “Jews” and “Judah” are essentially synonymous terms, sharing the same root, and differentiated by only one letter. Ephraim then went on to vanish, just as Isaiah prophesied, and the Jews (the Southern Kingdom) gradually became synonymous (in the mind of humanity) with “Israel,” because, as we know, people tend to define things on the basis of what can be seen, rather than on the basis of what G-d has declared.

For thousands of years that paradigm worked because the descendants of Ephraim disintegrated and were hidden among the gentiles; they were no longer a people, and they no longer realized they were descendants of Ephraim, much less that they were descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let’s not forget this truth: Being a descendant of the House of Ephraim also means being a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But because the identity had been completely lost, it no longer mattered that there were literal physical descendants of the patriarchs other than the Jews. Ephraim had been placed in suspended animation, as it were, and would not re-emerge on the scene of world affairs until the time of the restoration of all things, just as the Hebrew prophets had foretold.

The paradigm that “Jews” is synonymous with “Israel” also worked pretty well during the time of Yeshua, and when Sha’ul (Paul) wrote about the gentiles being grafted into Israel. The reality is that some (many, if not most) of those “gentiles” likely were descended from Ephraim, but because the individualized cognizance of that identity was erased by G-d until the time of the restoration of all things, it was little more than a trifling theoretical notion; Ephraim had been completely disintegrated by G-d, and no longer existed as an identifiable people. Although, Yeshua’s brother, Ya’akov (James), was very specific in his epistle. He declared that he was writing to “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad.” (James 1:1, NASB). In his epistle, Ya’akov does not even use the word “Jew” anywhere in his letter, even though he himself was a Jew. Yet he is clear that he is writing to twelve tribes. Those twelve tribes collectively comprised the whole House of Israel, even though most of Israel had lost its identity and been dispersed abroad long before he wrote.

We seem to have entered that period of human history in which the fulfillment of all prophecy may very well occur. Part of that which has been prophesied includes the awakening of Ephraim as he yearns and returns to Torah, and the regathering and restoration of Ephraim begins as a visible, physical, literal, identifiable group of people who will be joined with the Jews, and together with the Jews, we will take on the forces of darkness. The prophetic writings are replete with references to two separate but unified-in-purpose groups of Israelites.

The Jews are part of that equation-a valued and integral part, as they have carried the nation’s “banner” at great expense as the only identifiable portion of Israel over the millennia-but they cannot be two completely separate groups and at the same time be collectively referred to in the singular as “the Jews.” There is still a difference between a Jew and an Ephraimite. Only now, praise G-d, we are no longer at war with one another. Instead, our purpose is unified and mutually beneficial. We are now in a symbiotic relationship, and we are well on the way to once again being made into one unified people in the hand of Messiah. Together, we will make up the Whole House of Israel at the appointed time.

G-d revealed to our ancestors, before they entered the land of Israel, that their descendants would not live according to the instructions which had been delivered to Israel, and that they would be removed from the land. He went on to promise that He would not forget the covenant He had made with the Patriarchs. He further promised that He Himself would remember the covenant for us, even though we ourselves had no memory of it. He said: “But despite all this, while they will be in the land of their enemies, I will not have been revolted by them, nor will I have rejected them to obliterate them, to annul My covenant with them-for I am Hashem, their God. I will remember for them the covenant of the ancients, those whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations, to be God unto them-I am Hashem.” (Leviticus 26:44&45 Stone Edition). Some have argued that self-described Ephraimites have no way of “proving” or “knowing” that they are descendants of Israel. While that might seem to be true in the natural sense of things, the fact of the matter is that the Holy One of Israel has remembered that fact for us, and He has revealed it to us on an individual basis (Hos 5:3).

A significant number of folks in the Messianic Jewish movement have for decades been vilifying and encouraging intolerance toward those who identify with Ephraim. These tormentors would do well to recognize that you need us and we need you. The family feud is over, and we all need to get with the Father’s program. You do not get to be both the bow and the arrow (Zechariah 9:13). You are the bow, and we are the arrow. You are useless without us, and we are useless without you. You do not get to be both sticks (Ezekiel 37:16). You are one of the sticks in His hand, and we are the other. The L-rd G-d Almighty has told us in advance that He will whistle for us, Ephraim, and gather us back in at the appointed time (Zechariah 10:7-9). We are getting ready for that definitive promise of G-d, but many of you stand against it. He has also stated that at the appointed time, He is going to roar for us (Ephraim) to awaken (Hosea 11:10-11); many of us have done so while He is still whispering, and we have already come trembling.

Very likely, He will not be whispering much longer. He has told us in advance that He will roar for Ephraim at some point. When that happens, there will likely no longer be any question in your minds about the rebirth of Ephraim. We are preparing for action; but many of our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters are still trying to feud with us on the basis of traditional manmade religious boundaries, rather than honestly dealing with the plain text of the Bible. Hostility is inconsistent with the Father’s program, and we need to unite, get with His program and start bearing good fruit together. Such fruit will be evidenced by love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, humility . . . and unity (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:1-3). Such positive attributes have been sadly and completely lacking in many of our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters (see note 3). But as we see in the story of the Prodigal son, it is fitting to celebrate and be glad.

“There is another · · · ·”; there most certainly is, and we are him. We are that people of whom the prophets spoke so very long ago. Are you ready to join with us or not? Are you ready to start evidencing the fruit of the Spirit or not? Are you ready to start framing your theology and your identity on the basis of what the Bible actually says or not? The G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has whispered to us; we have believed Him and we have responded. Once again, some people do not listen when G-d whispers. Are you planning to wait until He roars?

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Resist the devil, and he shall flee! OH REALLY ?

I know that many of us are “going through some stuff” right now in our personal lives. Don’t feel like “the lone ranger”, it even happens to me, so I can relate with what some of you are going through.
There is a verse of scripture that is commonly used by those in “modern Christianity”, found in James 4:7b that reads ”
James 4:7b (King James Version)

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Now I know that some of you have tried your best to use that verse, and some have had success. That’s GREAT, PRAISE

YHWH !! BUT, if you have been using that verse and it doesn’t seem to be working for you, THEN I invite you to read “The Rest of The Story” [ a little Paul Harvey humor ]

To get the FULL power of this verse then you MUST “Know and Understand” the full content of it. Here is the rest of it;
James 4:7 (King James Version)

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Let me make this as plain as I can. The “devil nor his minions” will flee from anyone who isn’t “SUBMITTED”” to God.
Maybe you remember this story from Acts;
Acts 19:14-16 (King James Version)

14And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

15And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

16And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

You see, these old boys were doing what perhaps some of you are doing. “Name it and claim it” ! You hear someone else teach it and use it to some success and then you feel like you can use it for your self. You feel “empowered” to take on Satan himself! SO, why is it that you find yourself still struggling with these “issues”.
While there are many things I could say on this subject, the first and FOREMOST thing is, “Are you “SUBMITTED” unto The Lord ?
In the end there will be many who will say “Lord, Lord, we have done such and such and so and so, in your name. And He will say, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I KNOW YOU NOT !!!”” [paraphrase mine]
These are the same as these “sons of Sceva”, These are those who THINK that everything is “alright with them and The Lord “. BUT, in essence, they have NOT fully “SUBMITTED” unto YHWH!
They are still “playing church”. They may even be “doing the work of the ministry”. They may be doing what they think is
“Pleasing unto the Lord”.
I am reminded over and over of the story of King Saul, who thought he was going to do something that would please YHWH. BUT, in essence, he angered YHWH, for he, Saul, was NOT SUBMITTED to YHWH. In return, Saul would eventually lose the kingdom, and was severely rebuked by the Prophet Samuel and given these words from YHWH, “OBEDIENCE is better than sacrifice!!”
Saul thought that he would bring a sacrifice to YHWH from his “apparent victory” over the Amalekites. But, in his zest to “please God”, he angered YHWH by not “SUBMITTING” fully to the instructions of YHWH. Saul had been instructed to TOTALLY wipe out EVERYONE and EVERYTHING of the Amalekites. BUT, Saul disobeyed these instructions.

Perhaps some of you are doing the same thing. You too, may be doing what you think is pleasing the Lord. BUT yet you are struggling with things. My question for you is this.
Are you 100% “Submitted” to YHWH ?
If you aren’t, then no “devil will flee” from you!! For in actuality, you are still following after the devil’s ways. You are still following after “the flesh”. You can dress it up and call it “Religion” if you want to. BUT the fact of the matter is, in order to really PLEASE YHWH, you MUST be “Sumitted” in every area of your life.

I can tell you first hand, that in order to become “Obedient” to YHWH, it requires a “Sacrifice”!! A sacrifice that most are not willing to make. You must “Die of self” !! There is NO WAY you can live in your own ways, when they are contrary to the Way of The Lord.
“Obedience is better than sacrifice” is true!!
BUT, TRUE obedience only comes when we are willing to “sacrifice ourselves”. Becoming “Obedient” even as Christ did!
We don’t have to die a physical death, as Christ did.
BUT, we MUST die of ourselves, our selfish fleshy ideas of what we want!!
We must take a HARD look at what we are “doing in the name of The Lord” as well. ARE these things really “lined up” with His Will and His Way ? Or, are they the “traditions of men”.
These are “sacrifices” that many may not want to make.
BUT, make them, they must, for TRUE obedience to YHWH requires such!
THEN, will you have power to “resist the devil” !!

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Is the U.S. becoming a picture of Ninevah?

For the local National Day of Prayer event, I have been asked to speak and given,as the Theme for this year, a scripture based on Nahum.The National Theme is ;
Prayer
For Such A Time As This
“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” Nahum 1:7

I will be one of the first to admit, Nahum is not one of those books that I focus on. I have read it a few times and honestly never really did an in depth study of it.
Now most of you that read my stuff know me well enough, that I can only teach what The Word of YHWH says and as led by the Spirit, to study the context of the scripture out.
So with that in mind, I want to share what The Holy Spirit has given me.

When most of us hear about the city of Ninevah, we think of the story of Jonah, the reluctant Prophet, who was called to go to Ninevah and give a stern warning for them to repent from their wicked ways and turn their lives over to YHWH. After doing some study on Ninevah, I can understand a bit more why it was that Jonah was reluctant. These people weren’t just wicked, they were pure EVIL. The atrocities that they committed against their fellow man would be classified as “war crimes” and pure “inhumane”. They were known not just for beheading their enemies, but for actually “peeling their skin off of them” alive.Impaling bodies and heads out in the streets, for the people to see. Barbarians, these people were.
No wonder Jonah was reluctant. BUT, so goes the life of a TRUE Prophet of YHWH, and if you are a TRUE Prophet, you will be asked to do somethings that will stretch you and take you out of your comfort zone.
Now we all know the story, and Jonah did go and Ninevah did repent.
BUT, there is more to this story.
It seems as if old habits are hard to break, for, about 150 years later, Ninevah was just as evil as before. Maybe even more so.
What Babylon was in the “Spiritual War” against YHWH, Ninevah was in the warfare against their fellow human beings.
The Assyrian people of Ninevah would cause much suffering to befall their own city. What you “sow”, you “reap” and unless they would repent they were bound to “reap” much devastation upon them selves.
Enter the Prophet Nahum, who unlike Jonah, apparently had no “issues” about telling it like it was.
So what was Nahum about to encounter?
Ninevah was a “great city” in that it was large and very fortified and seemingly similar to it’s sister city Babylon. I say “sister city” for they were both built and founded by none other than Nimrod, [ Genesis 10:8-12] who was also the founding “father” of most Pagan religions. Time does not permit to go into ALL of the volumes of information available on Nimrod, BUT suffice it to say, he was truly a man AGAINST YHWH.
Ninevah was as large as modern day London England in square miles. It’s walls were wide enough for 3 chariots and their horses to go around and stood 100 feet in the air. They have found that there was some 1500 towers in that cities walls that stood 200 feet in the air. Ninevah, was an impressive site, BUT deep within, it was pure rotten, evil. The city was “ornate” as well, for not only were the Assyrians known for their cruel butchery, they were also known for their “plunderings of the spoils of war”. They were rich, at the cost of others.
So where do we tie into all of this. Surely I am not suggesting that the U.S. is anything like those cruel Assyrians. The answer is NO, we are not butchers, nor are we as evil as some think we are. BUT, Ninevah was a “back slidden” city. They had turned their backs on YHWH, and in only 150 years, were right back to where they started when YHWH sent a Prophet named Jonah with a message, “REPENT”!!
Nahum didn’t really have such a message, but MORE of a message that spelled of doom and gloom for a back slidden city and a people who were God-less.
Beloved, the only part of Nahums message that spelled out ANY hope is found in this passage;“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” [Nahum 1:7]
I am reminded of the Grace of YHWH shown upon a handful of people at the city of Sodom, for just before He would destroy it with fire and brimstone, The LORD ushered Lot and those of his family, who would heed what “Thus sayeth The LORD”, to safety and a new start in life.
YHWH is a Graceful God, BUT He is a JUST God as well.
There are those who have compared our nation to Babylon, basically because of it’s Babylonian financial system. Some call it the “Great Whore, Babylon” mentioned in The Book, Revelation.
I fear though, that our nation is creeping into a more similar place with Ninevah, who had turned it’s back on YHWH and gone after it’s other god’s and richs and whoredoms.
The words of The Prophet Nahum were not his words, BUT the Words of a JUST God, spoken to a people who would eventually be destroyed.
Three times Nahum mentions destruction by “flood” [Nahum 1:8, 2:6, and 3:13]. In the year 612 BC, after the surrounding nations had enough of Ninevah and it’s evil treatment, butchery and whoredoms, these nations rose up against Ninevah. Right there with their enemies, was it’s sister city, Babylon. In the Spring of that year, YHWH caused great rains to come and the Tigres River flooded over it’s banks, washing out part of the great walls that had kept Ninevah so “secure”.
Beloved, “false security and misplaced trust” will cost you EVERYTHING and cause you the most harm you could ever imagine. As the walls came tumbling down, the enemies of Ninevah poured into the once great city and demolished it.
This place that once stood in all it’s grandeur and fortifications was now reduced to a pile of rubble. It was so demolished, that over a period of time, there were some who even doubted that this city ever existed. Maybe it was another “Myth of The Bible”, some would eventually say. But, YHWH is not a man that he should lie, and in the mid 1800s, archaeologist began to uncover the remains of this once powerful city.
Is our nation at a spot that it is turning it’s back on YHWH?
As some of you know, a recent ruling by a Federal Court judge found the “National Day of Prayer” to be un Constitutional . The very leadership of our nation has broken the tradition of calling Christian leaders to the White House for this Day, snubbing, it’s nose at this occasion to PRAY, For Such A time As This

The Rev. Franklin Graham was scheduled to speak at the event at the Pentagon, but because he has taken a “stand” for his faith in YHWH and His Son Yahushua/Jesus, those who are in power, dropped him from the prayer event, because he made remarks against Islam.
Every chance they get, most “radical Muslims” speak against “Christianity and the Jews”, yet, when some one “speaks out” on their faith in YHWH, we are becoming labeled as “intolerant”, “radical Christians”.
This nation that was founded on the principals of YHWH, has reached “Such A Time As This”.
BUT, there is hope!! That one sliver of the message from Nahum to Ninevah that says;
“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” [Nahum 1:7]
Beloved, do you TRUST in Him?
Or, have you misplaced your trust in the things of the world ?
Have you gone “whoring after other gods”?
YHWH told His chosen people Israel, that He was weary with their repenting! [ Jeremiah 15:6 ]
Are we, that are “grafted in”, any better than the vine itself ?
YHWH will not be MOCKED!!
America,WAKE UP! Your “shepherds slumber”[ Nahum 3:18]
, while the enemy seeks to kill, steal and destroy!
It is NOT too late!
“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” Nahum 1:7

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To Hanukkah or not to Hanukkah. That is my question .

To Hanukkah or not to Hanukkah, that is my question !!

I have really struggled this year with the keeping of this festival.
When I came into the Torah class a few years ago, I had something in my Spirit that didn’t line up with it. I reluctantly have gone through the last couple of years, celebrating with our group.
We had our start tonight with our local group, and they said the “Blessing”, THEN it hit me as a confirmation.
The “Blessing”says that YHWH commands us to light the candles.
OH REALLY !!
WHERE AT ? Aren’t we warned against adding to or taking away from His Word ?
THEN they made a lovely presentation and shared from Daniel Chapter 8, tieing in the prophecy of Daniel to the events of the battle with the Maccabees and the Greeks. Then they read some from 1 Maccabees to tell the story of what had happened leading up to and during the Battle.
OK, I understand ALL of what was said and have NO problem with the events of the Battle.
BUT, “here is the REST of the story” [ a little Paul Harvey humor ]
In 1 Maccabees 8:17 Judas Maccabees sends a messenger to Rome to essentially invite Rome to come into Israel and take over, as THAT is what actually ended up happening.
AS FAR AS the tie in with Yahushua in John 10:22,23, AGAIN you have to read the rest of the scripture and tie it in with what had happened AFTER YHWH had delivered them from the Greeks.
Yahushua was “walking” in Solomon’s Porch. He WAS NOT in the temple.
#1 Solomons Porch is the place where Ezekiel had been shown the “elders turned their back to the temple, facing the sun and worshiping it.
Solomons Porch was not attached to Herod’s Temple, but acroos the courtyard. It has been referred to as a “place of judgement”
#2 Yahushua knew all of these things and was perplexed , troubled maybe in His Spirit, that’s why He was “walking” as in pacing about. Like many of us do when something is troubling us.
#3 Yahushua knew that the Maccabees had “turned their back on YHWH”, by running off to Rome to get help, when YHWH had just helped them and supposedly performed a “Miracle”.
#4 John 10 tells us that the Jews began to gather around Yahushua and question Him about being the Messiah. He told them that they couldn’t tell that He was the real Miracle Worker[paraphrase mine].
HERE He was, the very one who helped them through so many times in the past. The very one who had performed miracles in front of their eyes, and YET, they knew Him not.
NO, I am not convinced of Yahushua celebrating Hanukkah or however you may want to spell it.
NO, I am NOT convinced that He even was happy with what was going on, BUT more so feel Him to have been troubled by what was going on.

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Shofar Service video !

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Happy Birthday Yahshua/ Christ Jesus

Happy Birthday Yahshua/ Christ Jesus

Celebrating His REAL birth date, during Sukkot.

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September 29, 2012 · 12:13