Two and half months ago I sent out a tribute to Angus and Batya Wootten, for their many years of service to the restoration of the “Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim and all Israel his companions". Batya has written several books which many of us have read and have gleaned revelation, confirmation, and encouragement from. But I think it is time to point out a book that perhaps was published for such a time as this. Back 14 years ago, Key of David published a book called “Restoring Israel’s Kingdom” by Angus Wootten. It has been on our bookshelf for almost as many years, but you know how it is, your reading plan just fizzles with all the other intentions regarding ‘yet to be read’ books.
A couple of weeks ago Rimona walked by the book shelf and this orange and gray object kind of just stuck out and beckoned her. She grabbed this book, started to glance through it and could not put it down, as the Holy Spirit began to show her how relevant it was to the Bney Yoseph National Congress. An extended passage that seems most appropriate commences on page 236 starting with the following: “The Date of Yeshua’s Return?” A little later on the author asks: “Could the actual date of Yeshua’s return hinge on predetermined preparations and achievements made by disciples in the generation that will experience this event? We know our Father has set the date! But whatever that date is, why did He pick it? Is it a date picked randomly, without regard to the course of human events? Or is it a date that is predicated on human events – date determined by the actions and reactions of people? Did our Father pick a particular date because of circumstances He foresaw?
“Free will is a hallmark of Judeo-Christian theology. Man’s eternal destiny is in his own hands. Man has the right and the power to embrace or disregard the call of Yahveh on his life, and to accept, or reject His guidance to accomplish this call.
“Adam and Eve serve as prime examples of two people who chose not to follow the Father’s instructions. However, even though they could have chosen not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Yahveh foreknew what their decision would be, just as He knows the decisions we will make (Genesis 2:17).
Another example that Angus uses is Abraham. “Yahveh said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years’” (Genesis 15:13). Where did this “four hundred year” time frame come from? What considerations went into its establishment? … how did Yahveh fulfill His prophecy that Abraham’s descendants would be delivered from Egypt in four hundred years? Did He predestine that they would cry out for deliverance at that time? Did He create “puppets,” so Moses, Aaron, the elders of Israel, all the people of Israel, and a Pharaoh and the Egyptians would play their parts so as to affect deliverance? Or, did Yahveh look into the future and see that it would take four hundred years for the Israelites to have their fill of Egypt, and thus of their own free will, would cry out for deliverance. And that, A Moses, an Aaron, the elders and all the people of Israel, would be willing, at that time, to follow His guidance to the extent necessary to deliver them from Egypt?
“Granted that Yahveh can affect compelling circumstances to accomplish His purposes – such as the ten plagues… However, Pharaoh could have let the Israelites go at any time. He did not have to pursue them, and thus lose his army in the Red Sea. Also Adam and Eve could have rejected the tempter… And Judas could have rejected the offer of twenty pieces of silver.
“If you believe that man has free will, then it is reasonable for you to believe that Yahveh set the four-hundred year date based on looking into the future, and seeing that circumstances, which He undoubtedly created, would generate the free will response from people, sufficient to accomplish His purposes at that time.
“When the fullness of the time came, Yahveh sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). How did Yahveh determine when there was a ‘fullness of time’ for this world-changing event? Did He predestine a Mary, a Joseph, twelve disciples, a Jewish hierarchy, and a Roman Military Governor who would each accomplish the part assigned to them?
“More puppets? Or, once again, did Yahveh look into the future and see that the circumstances which He created would generate the free will response from people sufficient to accomplish His purposes?
“Thus we conclude that the date has already been set for the return of the Messiah, and for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. It was set a long time ago when Yahveh looked into the future. He selected a time when circumstances and free will response from people will be sufficient to accomplish His Kingdom restoration.
“Yahveh uses every generation to advance His plan, and He considers many factors in establishing times and seasons for specific events.
“The ancient prophets tell us that the day will come when Ephraim will receive instructions and will repent for the deeds of his youth (Jeremiah 31:19). Then Yahveh will whistle for him, and he will come trembling… Ephraim will once again be like a mighty man (Zechariah 10:7). And he will be as numerous as he was before. He will fill the land promised to the Patriarchs, until there is no more room in Israel, Lebanon, and Gilead (Isaiah 49:20; Zechariah 10:10).
“While we cannot foresee all the circumstances Yahveh will forge to fulfill the prophecies concerning Ephraim, we can see certain circumstances beginning to unfold…
“Yahveh has plans for our welfare, to give each one of us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). The accomplishment of His plans, in a manner pleasing to Him, depends on how we respond as He guides us through circumstances He has arranged for our lives. Like our forefathers in ancient Egypt, will we cry out for deliverance from our Egypt? In our day, will we take advantage of the opportunity to be numbered among the fishermen whom Yahveh is calling to re-gather His people Israel?"
To that last question we add: “Will we take advantage of the opportunity to be numbered among the multitude of fish prophesied by our father Jacob, when he blessed Joseph’s sons (Genesis 48:16 literal rendering), especially since the hunters are now well on their way to accomplish theirgoals and assignments (Jeremiah 16:16)?”
We know that it is always a remnant that will choose faith, and will move forward in trust, even into the unknown times and purposes of Israel’s Elohim.