Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Cost of a Vision

Shalom Fellow Israelite,

We all know that Yeshua came as a kinsman redeemer to restore the house of Jacob and set up the everlasting kingdom in that house (Luke 1:31-33).  In order to do that he has to bring back the “lost tribes of Israel”, known prophetically as the “stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim” (ref. Ezekiel 37:16).  Thus if we are to be his disciples, we must hold to this vision and then to be about His business.

 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it --   lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,  saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.  So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:28-33).

These words of Yeshua state very clearly that the price for following Him is inestimable; it may cost anyone of us our life, and He certainly requires, in the very “least”, the “self-life”, that is that one’s faculties would be at His disposal and for His use. Thus, it is no small matter stepping into His Kingdom purposes. In order to follow the beckoning of this vision one has to count the cost.

But what about the converse? What if one ignores the kingdom vision, and thus, by default, makes a decision not to follow it? Or worse yet, what if one decides consciously and willingly to lay aside and reject what he or she had known as a “vision” at some point? Proverbs 29:18 reads: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint”. The word for “people” in this verse is “am”, that is a unit of people, a nation. This (NKJ) translation happens to be accurate regarding the verb “casting off restraint” – which is “yi’pa’ra” – root pey, resh, ayin. In most other instances this root is used in a similar fashion, that is, “unruly”, “disheveled”, “loosen”, in other words “lawlessness” (see, for example, Exodus 32:25).

Thus, as much as it costs to follow the vision, the opposite (i.e. forsaking it) does not promise a release, or relief; quite the opposite – there may be an even higher price to pay, which is confirmed by the meaning of this verb in Modern Hebrew: “payment of debt” or “getting even”. Thus, when a vision goes unheeded the demand for “payment” will be there, at a great cost and at a great price.

To cite one example - YHVH sent prophets and visionaries to the Jews in the 1800’s, declaring a message of restoration and return to Zion and the land.  At the time the affluent Jewish communities in Germany and other western European countries (and the U.S) were building beautiful synagogues.  Many despised the poor persecuted Jews of the East (Eastern Europe).  Even though there were warnings of “Jew hatred” in publications and newspaper articles (and news of vicious Anti-Semitic incidents and pogroms in various places) the majority of Jews felt that there was no need to pay attention to the Jewish Zionist zealots.  Likewise, most in the Christian world were blind to the literal fulfillment of prophecies that pertained to the Jews returning to the land, which was viewed at most as a silly idea, for the church had replaced them as God’s people.

There were, however, Christian visionaries and prophets who foresaw the (need for the) return of the Jews to the Promised Land, but their voices also went unheeded.  What was the price the Jews and the Christians paid for ignoring the vision of YHVH’s literal fulfillment of His promises to His natural family?  Very few interpret history in light of the sovereignty of the Almighty.  Where there is no vision the people are casting off restraint, which may even border on anarchy.  Nevertheless, as we saw, the debt that the vision demands from its opponents may be incremental.  The events that took place in the course of the 50 years prior to YHVH establishing a nation for the Jewish people, saw millions of Jews and Christians exterminated, suffering loss and displacement, and living in fear for their lives.

During that same time period, however, a remnant of Jews did return and YHVH gave them their land, fulfilling the first part of the famous Ezekiel 37:16 scripture. Shortly after 1967, the year when the nation of Judah took back Jerusalem, the words of the prophets began to rise again, declaring YHVH’s intention to restore the second stick of Joseph/Ephraim. A spiritual anointing, similar to the one that was on Elijah, began to turn the hearts of the sons back to their forefathers - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  There was even a song that that came forth, which became very popular: “These are the days of Elijah”. The non-Jews who were awakening to their roots began to identify themselves as “Ephraim” or “sons of Joseph”, with others labeling them “two house believers”.
However, the majority of Christians and the Messianic Jewish leadership openly opposed this “VISION” of the return of the “lost tribes of Israel”, and have not changed their minds thus far.  What will be the consequence of denying, rejecting, and casting aside this present move of YHVH’s Spirit to turn the hearts of the sons of Joseph back to the heart of their forefathers?  According to Malachi, YHVH will lay a curse, or a hunters’ net (see Malachi 4:5-6).  We are already seeing the hunters doing what they are called by the Almighty to do (ref. Habakkuk chapter 1)    What more will happen in the future if the people do not have, or worse, ignore YHVH’s vision of present truth? Will there be a debt to pay when the Almighty, for His part, chooses to loosen and no longer restrain the evil forces?
The second part of our scripture in Proverbs 29:18 says the following: “But happy is he who keeps the Torah”.  Apparently following the vision is construed as “keeping the Torah”. The vision is within the Torah’s precincts and gives direction and guidelines to those who are faithful to walk in its Torah pathway, while those who do not are preparing the way, not of YHVH, but of the lawless one (see 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-12).    

Shabbat Shalom,

Ephraim and Rimona

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